The Book of Mean People

The Book of Mean People

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by Toni Morrison, Slade Morrison, Pascal Lemaitre
     
 

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"This is a book about mean people. Some mean people are big. Some little people are mean." In Toni Morrison's second illustrated book collaboration with her son, Slade, she offers a humorous look at how children experience meanness and anger in our world. The world and its language can be confusing to young people. To them, meanness can have many shapes, sizes, and…  See more details below

Overview

"This is a book about mean people. Some mean people are big. Some little people are mean." In Toni Morrison's second illustrated book collaboration with her son, Slade, she offers a humorous look at how children experience meanness and anger in our world. The world and its language can be confusing to young people. To them, meanness can have many shapes, sizes, and sounds. " My mother is mean when she says I don't listen. She says, "Do you hear me?" I can't hear her when she is screaming. This wise child knows that meanness can be a whisper or a shout, a smile or a frown. Young readers know about meanness, too, and will feel satisfied by having their perspective championed in The Book of Mean People.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"This is a book about mean people," opens the mother-son team's second collaboration (after The Big Box). The narrative begins as a series of statements about cruelty, but Lema tre (Emily the Giraffe) cleverly fashions the declaratives as thoughts belonging to an intelligent bunny narrator with a diminutive canine sidekick. For "Some mean people are big. Some little people are mean," a spread shows a huge bunny towering above the overalls-clad hero; in the next, a diapered bunny ties the narrator's long ears in knots. The book soon turns from general truisms about "mean" people into a lament about the incomprehensible demands of grown-ups. Lema tre, however, never ceases to see the humor in the situation. "My grandmother tells me to sit down. My grandfather tells me to sit up," appears on a spread depicting the bunny, one ear down, one ear up, looking torn between the two. The next spread ("How can I sit down and sit up at the same time?") portrays the bunny lying wide-eyed, tipped backwards in his chair, while his dog hides behind a table leg. Others scenarios are chilling, as when the bunny's mother screams ("Do you hear me?"), blasting the hero and his puppy clear across the room. "Frowning people scare me when they smile," the rabbit says at the end, surrounded by his family, all grinning evilly; but he has the last word: "I will smile anyway! How about that!" This bittersweet volume takes meanness in stride and advocates kindness as the antidote. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-Accompanied by whimsical pen-and-ink cartoon illustrations in the style of William Steig or Shel Silverstein, this book catalogs "mean people" from a child's point of view: "Some mean people are big. Some little people are mean.- My mother is mean. She says I don't listen. She says, `DO YOU HEAR ME?'" The illustrations feature a little bunny with big ears and a worried expression as she reacts to various unkind people in her family, before deciding to smile anyway and go play. The bunny's definition of "mean" includes a baby in diapers pulling the narrator's ears, her grandmother telling her to sit down, and her mother trying to get her to eat her peas-not instances of deliberate or intentional meanness. The book could be used as a springboard to discuss anger and shouting, etc., but it does not give any reassurance that any of these people are ever caring and loving.-Judith Constantinides, formerly at East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786805402
Publisher:
Disney-Hyperion
Publication date:
09/30/2002
Edition description:
1ST
Pages:
48
Product dimensions:
9.50(w) x 9.75(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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Book of Mean People 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you are thoughtful, you will love this story. I've read it to upper-elementary school kids with great success. The kids love to discuss any story that seems to be on their side, and perhaps in the face of the adult world. Take the time to think through the story from the child's perspective. The story's initially jarring impression makes its ulimate message much more powerful.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book lumps people who nurture a child by helping the child learn the rules (of spelling, of promptness, of good nutrition, of chess) right in with those who yell and scream in order to hurt feelings. This is an immature view coming from a grown man who should know better. Don't read this book with your kids. Our job as parents is to help children discern the difference between meanness and kindness. We all know how literal preschoolers can be, and this book, while written for them, is harmful to them.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book brought tears to my eyes! It's simple, I know, but if you have a child with ADD or AD/HD you'll understand where I'm coming from and you will see what their entire life feels like from the inside out and they still have a smile on their face regardless!