Ideas about bullies (and how we define people) are turned on their heads in this playful rhyming story that questions why a child is being labeled a bully.
Gertie the elephant says everyone on the playground should stay far away from Bunny because she's super mean. But Kitty has questions: How did Bunny become a bully? Was she born that way? Was she stung by a bullybug? Or maybe she caught the bully flu? Wait, does that mean bullying is contagious? And if it is, couldn't the other animals catch it, too? But ... then no one would play with them either, and that doesn't seem fair. Is it possible that Bunny is sorry? Should they give her a second chance?
Not your typical bullying story, Lana Button's fresh take flips the focus from the child being bullied to the one being called a bully. In cadenced rhyming text, the compassionate and insightful Kitty leads children through a series of questions that get at the core of the assumptions we make about others and how it feels to be on the other side of name-calling. Christine Battuz's expressive illustrations use tenderness and a touch of humor to complement the emotional level of the text. Altogether, this is a perfect child-level exploration of empathy. It would be an excellent choice for discussions about bullying, or more broad issues of social development. It also works for character education lessons on empathy, compassion, fairness and inclusiveness.
Lana Button works in early childhood education. She is the author of Willow's Whispers, Willow Finds a Way, Willow's Smile and My Teacher's Not Here! Lana studied theater performance at Concordia University in Montreal, and now lives in Burlington, Ontario, with her husband and three daughters.
Christine Battuz has illustrated over sixty books for children, including Wade's Wiggly Antlers and What If Bunny's NOT a Bully?, and has taught art to children of all ages. She lives in Bromont, Quebec.
... the message of giving friends a second chance is well expressed, and teachers will find a useful opportunity in identifying for children who the real victim of bullying is in this story.