Moss and Lyon make their children's book debuts with this well-intentioned if often wooden story, which opens as the narrator points out "a kid in my school who gets picked on all the time," another boy who gets teased and pushed in the halls, and a girl who always sits alone on the bus. The narrator asserts that she doesn't harass these individuals ("I don't say anything"). One day when she's sitting alone in the cafeteria, three schoolmates approach her and start telling jokes. She laughs-until the jokes "started to be about me." Her tormentors laugh as she cries, and the students eating at the next table stare at her in silence. When she relays the story to her older brother and shares her anger at the students at the neighboring table, he replies, "Why? They didn't do anything," and she responds, "Right." The tale ends abruptly on the following spread, as the narrator is pictured smiling with another girl: "On the bus the next day, I sat next to the girl who always sits alone. She's really funny!" The somewhat simplistic and monotonous tone is relieved by the impressionistic watercolors, which successfully capture the girl's expressions and moods. Concluding tips about dealing with bullying speak to older, more sophisticated readers ("Say something to the bully. Don't become part of the fight. But remember, often just a quick word or two will make the teasing or the mean-spirited joke stop"). Ages 5-12. (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
K-Gr 5-This story takes an interesting slant on an important topic. A young narrator describes different examples of bullying that she witnesses at school and on the bus, but remains silent. One day, when her friends are absent, she must sit alone in the cafeteria, and several students make jokes at her expense. In addition to feeling angry about being treated this way, the girl is frustrated with the other kids who look on sympathetically but say nothing. She is then able to empathize with other victims. The next day, she approaches a quiet girl who is often teased and finds a new friend. As well as demonstrating different examples of bullying, the author gradually but clearly illustrates that being a silent bystander contributes to the problem. Points are made quickly and simply, and the narrative has a natural flow that immediately draws readers in. Back pages include topics for discussion, practical and proactive advice for kids who are being targeted, and some good Web sites. The realistic watercolor illustrations depict busy school life and represent a diverse population. Emotions are portrayed beautifully through facial expression and body language. Suitable for independent reading or for sharing aloud, this book can be used in a classroom environment to set the stage for important dialogue about this universal and ageless issue.-Corrina Austin, Locke's Public School, St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.