A pointed invitation to consider the notion that people deserve second chances.
Led by an elephant who could stand in for the sizable and undisguised agenda as well as a child in Battuz’s cast of clothed young animals, everyone on the playground ostracizes the flop-eared supposed offender: “There’s Bunny! There’s the bully! / She looks extra mean today. / Stick together, everyone. / Make sure she stays away.” A little kitten is curious about how bullies happen (“Did she pass a bully test / at a Be a Bully School?”) or what Bunny actually did to earn her reputation. Receiving no answers, Kitty frets about coming down with “The Bullies,” like a contagious disease that would result in being similarly shunned for life. Kitty’s fears make other animals protest that they’d never do that to one of their own because it would be mean—which causes the penny to drop (in a pregnant wordless spread) and opens the door for a general apology from Bunny that leads to a reconciliation. “ ‘I think friends can / make mistakes… / every now and then.’ / ‘Want to see what happens… / if we all just try again?’ ” As Bunny never looks or acts the bully, she’s the one who comes off as the victim here…a reversal that real-life victims may find implausible.
Flimsy and message driven. (Picture book. 6-9)