Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE BOOK OF MEAN PEOPLE by Toni Morrison

THE BOOK OF MEAN PEOPLE

By Toni Morrison (Author) , Slade Morrison (Author) , Pascal Lemaitre (Illustrator)

Age Range: 6 - 9

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0786805404
Publisher: Hyperion

A fretful child catalogs affronts: people who shout at you, or those who whisper and giggle just out of earshot; parents who try to make you eat something nasty-looking; the teacher who tells you that your work is sloppy, and so on. The Morrisons (Big Box, 1999, illustrated by Giselle Potter) address meanies as well as their victims, repeatedly asserting that screamers disappear behind their yells, and noting that “big people are little when they are mean. But little people are not big when they are mean.” Le Maître complements this simply phrased plaint with long-eared, Matt Groening–style rabbits suspended in cream-colored space with a minimum of surrounding detail. Children who know just what the young narrator is talking about may take to heart the closing advice to smile in the face of frowns. Frowners resistant to this pointed, child’s-eye view may benefit from a dose of Betsy Everitt’s Mean Soup (1992) or the mood-changing brew concocted out of a bad day by Linda Smith’s Mrs. Biddlebox (p. 1144). (Picture book. 6-9)