Irene's Picture Book Reviews

Lucy and The Bully/Reviewed by Irene Roth

Posted on: June 26, 2010

       
           Title: Lucy and The Bully
           Author: Claire Alexander               
           Reading Level: Ages 4 – 8
           Hardcover: 32 pages
           Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company, 2008
           ISBN: 978-0-8075-4786-1
          
           Claire Alexander’s book is a sad but uplifting book
           about bullying. Bullying has become a real problem in
           today’s culture, and because of this, this book is of
           extreme importance to kids.
          
           Alexander’s story is simple and has wonderful
           illustrations. It will help young children to talk openly
           and honestly about bullying. But most importantly,
           Alexander assures the reader that bullies could be
           stopped and something can be done about this growing
           problem. 
          
           The main problem with bullying is that bullies are
           great at hiding their actions and intentions from
           others. The only person who really knows that they are
           being bullied are the victims. And that is really sad.
           Alexander shows what some of the criteria of bullying
           are. And that in itself is very important because most
           kids don’t even know hat they are bullied.
          
           I asked my five year old niece a few weeks ago which
           actions constituted bullying. At first,  she wasn’t able
           to tell me. Then I read Alexander’s book with her, and
           all of a sudden she understood what bullying meant a
           lot better. Not only that but when I was visiting at her
           school a few days later, she pointed out a real case of
           bullying to me. Now that was real progress.
          
           According to Alexander, bullying is the use of
           aggressive, intentional, and often repetitive behavior in
           order to expert power over another person. A bullied
           child feels defenceless and intimidated. The victim may
           even feel uncertain about whether or not (s)he should
           seek help. Sometimes, the bullied child may even know
           whether they are being bullied because the bully
           usually plays mind games with the victim.
          
           Alexander’s message is that bullying should be dealt
           with right away. It’s essential for the victim to seek
           help from an adult as soon (s)he suspects that (s)he is
           being bullied. Than the adult must strive to ‘work it
           out’ with the bully. The victim need not feel responsible
           for stopping the bully him/herself.
          
           The harmful effects of bullying can be lessened if
           adults are attuned, available, and accessible to their
           children. Adults must try and find a way to talk to
           children about bullying early on because bullying is
           becoming a problem at an increasingly earlier age.
          
           Since most children learn by example, sharing
           stories about bullying situations and how to overcome
           them through successful resolutions is a wonderful
           learning tool for kids to not be victimized by bullies in
           their school or neighbourhoods. It also allows kids to
           imagine similar situations and it may even help kids
           make sure that they don’t become bullies themselves.
          
           Reading such stories with children can create a safe
           environment and connection between the parents and
           children by addressing a difficult topic in a friendly
           manner. This certainly occurred when I read the book
           to my niece. And I also now know that she will know
           how to tell whether she is being bullied and will seek
           help from teachers or other adults.
         
           I was absolutely mesmerized by the book. The book
           wonderfully illustrates the viciousness of bullying and
           how the victim feels. What an important book for our
           times! Thank goodness for authors who take important
           topics like this one and make it child-friendly!
          
           About the author: Claire Alexander lives in
           England, where she studied art at the Kent Institute
           of Art and Design. In addition to her work as a
           children’s book author and illustrator, she is an
           acclaimed portrait artist, with paintings in private
           collections in Europe, Australia, and the United
           States. 
          
           

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