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BULLIES NEVER WIN by Margery Cuyler


by Margery Cuyler and illustrated by Arthur Howard

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: June 23rd, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-689-86187-1
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Worrier Jessica’s previous problems with finding 100 things, remembering fire-safety rules and reading aloud all seem trivial in the face of Brenda Bailey, the bully of the first grade (Hooray for Reading Day, 2008, etc.). The quintessential girl bully, “perfect” Brenda doesn’t steal or fight—she teases and belittles. Downtrodden Jessica changes everything about herself to try to get Brenda to stop. Ignoring her doesn’t work, and the threat of telling the teacher only provokes the moniker of tattletale. In the end, Jessica comes up with a reply that she hopes will put an end to the abuse. While readers do not find out if Brenda has been defeated, it is plain that Jessica’s actions have boosted her self-confidence. Howard’s pen, ink and watercolor illustrations masterfully capture Brenda’s “perfection,” including the ugly face of jealousy and meanness that she so often exhibits. Body language speaks volumes—as Brenda heaps on the abuse, Jessica seems almost to shrink. With messages on many different levels for both the bully and the bullied, this has a home on library shelves. (Picture book. 5-8)