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Journal of a Schoolyard Bully: Notes on Noogies, Wet Willies, and Wedgies Hardcover – September 13, 2011

3.4 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“The book has many funny moments… Katz has an inventive mind along the lines of Roz Chast's.” ―The New York Times Book Review

About the Author

At 27, Farley Katz is the youngest staff cartoonist for The New Yorker, where he's published over eighty cartoons. He lives in New York City where he writes and draws the webcomic Kids Are Dumb (kidsaredumb.com).  

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Product Details

  • Series: Journal of a Schoolyard Bully (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1st edition (September 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312681585
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312681586
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,276,804 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By C. Bankler on September 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book truly stands out among the mass of books being produced today on bullying and the like. Katz's clever dialog exhibits his considerable writing skill. Few authors can create a book that is truly enjoyable for children while simultaneously incorporating wry humor that appeals to adult readers.

What's more, the book manages to avoid overused platitudes on the subject. Instead, the story explores bullying from an interesting alternative perspective--the bully's mind.

This is a great read from a promising young author.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Journal of a Schoolyard Bully is about Niko, a middle school bully, who has been forced by his therapist to keep a journal in hopes of finding out why he bullies and uncover pathways to end his destructive behaviors. It is written in the style of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series (large, handwritten fonts and lots of pictures) and will certainly appeal to that demographic, at least at first.

This book poses a dilemma for me. I want kids to have good literature that helps them wrestle with and think through life decisions. (Spoiler alert) Niko is a completely static character who learns nothing about himself over the course of the story. On the one hand, it’s probably a realistic portrayal. Often times bullies don’t have epiphanies, even when the tables are turned on them (which happens to Niko in the book). They don’t necessarily change their ways. But then again, they don’t often have books written about them either.

Maybe it’s my age or that I’m a middle school teacher that keeps me from appreciating this book. I want books that cause my students to think about their actions. This book gives a child who is being bullied or witnessing bullying little reason to hope for change, and it gives the bully little reason to want to. As an adult, I know that bullies harm themselves in addition to those they persecute. I know bullies are to be pitied because their school days will run out and cut them loose to survive without any social skills in a world of adults who, for the most part, won’t put up with them. A typical middle schooler reading this book doesn’t yet know that.

Perhaps I’m overthinking it. It may be realistic, but I don’t see a lot of literary value here. This one won’t be going on the classroom library shelf.
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Format: Hardcover
I don't want to give too much away! I really wanted to read this book because I loved Diary of a Wimpy Kid and I thought it would be really interesting to see a different point of view, the bully!

I was a nerdy kid. I still am a nerdy kid. Just more grown up now. I like to read and draw and I was good in most subjects in Elementary School. I was also the object of a lot of teasing when I was a kid. It was really rough sometimes back then. In a weird kind of way, I could relate to this story. Niko, the main character and bully, is a trouble maker. He tries really hard to be good, but he can't keep the good behavior up for very long. Until, one day he takes things a bit too far.

I thought that this book was hilarious. Some parts were so outlandish and out-of-this-world that it was just plain funny. There are also these little innuendos throughout this book that I think most kids won't pick up on, but an adult who reads it will chuckle. Some parts, in particular, in the beginning where Niko is explaining how every bully should know how to come up with a cruel nick-name was really funny but sounded all too familiar. When I was a kid, my grandmother bought me a faux fur coat when I was in the 1st grade. I loved that coat and I was excited to wear it to school. I remember being dropped off at my bus stop and one kid, who I later found out had a big crush on me when I was 16, started to call me Hair Ball, and proceeded to sing, "Hair Ball, Hair Ball, Whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do, when they cough on you?" Oh yeah. It was catchy and from that day on, the name, and the awful song, stuck like glue. People still called me that until 11th grade. Pathetic.

This book isn't meant to glorify the bully. Niko is a sad little boy with insecurities and family issues.
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Format: Hardcover
Farley Katz has written and illustrated a wonderful book about bullying from the bully's point of view. This one should provoke a lot of discussions for children, their parents and teachers. I didn't know that you could actually feel sorry for a bully, but Niko Kaylor with all his bravado and intelligence is actually a confused and angry boy. Niko is forced to write a journal by his mother, his therapist and the school. He illustrates it with all the hatred and anger he can muster and writes what he thinks the "unholy trinity" wants to read. He still continues to bully and ignore the threats placed on him by the school. Until he takes it all too far one day. He is sent to a reform school and becomes the victim instead of victor.

I think most adults will know Katz's work from Mad Magazine and a lot of the humor present there is carried over. There are situations in the story that would never be allowed to occur at any school in the United States but are illustrated to the extreme to make his point. Bullies have issues of their own and should be dealt with accordingly and quickly. I really enjoyed this one and if you enjoyed Diary of a Wimpy Kid, you will like this opposing point of view.
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