Top critical review
Terrible messages about bullying
July 12, 2018
Based on the plot, this book should be great. A girl treats a school bully with kindness after he taunts her for her unusual food preferences. The girl even comes from a non-traditional home as she lives with her grandfather. But, that's where the good parts end. She is too afraid and embarrassed by the bullying to tell her grandfather or her teacher. What a terrible, counterproductive message to send young kids (mine are 2 and 4), particularly since bullying starts in elementary school and only gets worse with exposure to social media. The message should have been about your options for dealing with a bully, including talking to your friends, your parents, your teacher, walking away, etc. Treating everyone with kindness is a great message, but it shouldn't come at the expense of standing up for yourself. The storytelling is also subpar (it meanders boringly from school bus, to cafeteria, to playground, without any plot to go along). And, it gives young kids great fodder for doing their own bullying as the bully calls her names and says "that's stupid". My kids are in school and get plenty of exposure to name calling and timeworn exclamations without reading about them in books.