Bully

( 1 )

Overview

Bully doesn't have a kind word for any of his friends. When the other animals ask him to play, he responds in the way he's been taught:

Chicken! Slow poke! You stink!

Laura Vaccaro Seeger's bold, graphic artwork, along with her spare but powerful words, make for a tender, hilarious, and thoughtful tale.

A Neal Porter Book

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Overview

Bully doesn't have a kind word for any of his friends. When the other animals ask him to play, he responds in the way he's been taught:

Chicken! Slow poke! You stink!

Laura Vaccaro Seeger's bold, graphic artwork, along with her spare but powerful words, make for a tender, hilarious, and thoughtful tale.

A Neal Porter Book

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Seeger (Green) uses boldly inked barnyard animals to tell her story about bullying, casting a bull in the title role. The trouble starts when the young bull is rejected by an older one: “Go away!” it shouts. The young bull is shaken, but he’s learned something—how to hurt others. When a rabbit, chicken, and turtle in the barnyard ask him to play, he grumps “No,” then hurls insults at them, names that are no more than the literal truth. “Chicken!” he yells at the chicken, who jumps in the air. “Slowpoke!” he shouts at the turtle. “You stink!” he screams at a skunk. The more he abuses the others, the larger he grows, his angry bluster feeding his self-importance. At last a goat speaks truth to power: “Bully!” the goat cries. “Bully?” the bull repeats to himself. All the inflated air blows out of him, and he tosses and tumbles across a spread like a balloon let loose. Tearfully, he makes peace. Seeger’s pages pop with action, and the lesson couldn’t be clearer. Ages 3–7. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (July)
From the Publisher
“What’s lovely about ‘Bully’ is that the little bull is a sympathetic character throughout. Having shown us the reason for his anger, Seeger offers children a way to root for him.”—The New York Times

 "For a book containing only 18 words (22 if you count the duplicates), this title packs a punch, or perhaps a pat on the shoulder. Beginning with the stop-sign-red cover sporting an angry brown bull, author-illustrator Laura Vaccaro Seeger signals her intent to tackle an ugly subject, carefully calibrating it for the very youngest."—The Washington Post

"Intelligently conceived and beautifully executed, this picture book is visually and verbally pared down to essentials, making it accessible to a wide age range. Yet for all its simplicity, this story opens up a number of complex issues for discussion." — Booklist, starred review

"Seeger’s pages pop with action, and the lesson couldn’t be clearer."— Publishers Weekly, starred review

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Before the title page, a young bull is told by a larger bull to "GO AWAY!" Feeling rebuffed and upset, he shouts "NO!" across the double page when a rabbit, a chicken, and a turtle ask if he wants to play. He glowers "CHICKEN!" at the startled fowl and "SLOW POKE!" at the retreating turtle. He yells at a pig and tells a bee to "BUZZ OFF!" and a skunk, "YOU STINK!" in ever larger type and size. A goat bravely calls him "BULLY!" He answers, "BUTT OUT!" But then the bull's puzzled face fills the double page as he wonders, "Bully?" He returns to tell the other creatures he is sorry, and asks them if they want to play. "Okay" is the reply, as they go off together. This basic lesson is visualized simply in thick black outlines and solid colors. The naked speech balloons, the only text, are produced in very heavy letters until the final question and ultimate happy resolution. If only all such interactions could end as well. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—On the cover, bold black lines on an angry tomato-red background depict the scowling title character. Seeger sets the emotional tone from the very start: this is one mean bull. Front endpapers offer a clue to his behavior as readers see a larger, adult bull shout, "Go away!" The rejected little guy hangs his head, and, as many real-life bullies do, turns his hurt into anger. When he comes upon a group of animals who want to play, he puffs himself up in a near-identical pose to his adult counterpart and shouts, "No!" He proceeds to insult them with literal names ("CHICKEN!" "PIG!") that lend a bit of levity and humor to an otherwise serious story. With each insult, the bull's bravado makes him larger and larger, filling and then expanding outside the frame of the pages. Children will recognize and respond to this powerful visual depiction of rage. By the time he yells "YOU STINK!" at the skunk, only his two giant front hooves and enormous snout are visible. When the bull is finally forced to confront what he has become, viewers see him deflate like an overinflated balloon and become small. Again, Seeger lightens the mood with this touch of cartoon whimsy. Spare text and simple drawings allow the antibullying message to come across clearly without being heavy-handed or didactic. The arc of the bull's experience engenders discussion and encourages the quest for satisfying solutions.—Kiera Parrott, Darien Library, CT
Kirkus Reviews
Characteristically impeccable design distinguishes Seeger's latest, even as pacing risks its overall success. The cover's bold, red background emphasizes a brown bull's surly expression--he's seeing red emotionally as surely as readers see it behind him. But then, the frontispiece shows him looking downright cowed as a large, gray bull shouts, "GO AWAY!" Clearly pained, the brown bull roundly rejects a group of animals that invites him to play. Wordplay makes his cruel remarks pack a wallop: "CHICKEN!" he shouts at a hen; "SLOW POKE!" at a turtle; "PIG!" at, well, a pig. A bee and skunk feel his ire, too. Then, a goat evoking the bravery of the Billy Goats Gruff facing down the troll retorts, "BULLY!" "Bully?" the brown bull asks in a picture employing an effective direct gaze at readers. On the next spread, the bull is depicted multiple times, sent into a physical tailspin representing his emotional upheaval. He apologizes on the antepenultimate page, and then, over just two spreads, he invites the animals to play, and they accept. This resolution arrives a bit too quickly, and questions linger about the gray bull, bee, skunk and the heroic goat. Perhaps, then, this book is best a conversation starter about bullying rather than a fully developed story or commentary on this pressing social issue. (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596436305
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
  • Publication date: 7/16/2013
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 168,960
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.30 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.36 (d)

Meet the Author

Among Laura Vaccaro Seeger's many distinctive books for children are First the Egg, a Caldecott Honor Book and Geisel Honor Book; One Boy, a Geisel Honor Book; Dog and Bear: Two Friends, Three Stories, winner of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award; and Green, recipient of five starred reviews. Laura lives on Long Island with her husband, Chris, their two sons, Drew and Dylan, and their dog, Copper.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2014

    Great book for kindergarten!

    This book is good to help people getting bullied. It is about
    animals, but think of them as people.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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