The Two Bullies

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Winner of Australia's Children's Book Council Picture Book of the Year Award (burst or headline)

What happens with Ni-ou, the self-proclaimed "strongest fellow in Japan" rows to China to challenge his counter part, Dokkoi? Not what you'd expect. These two enormous bullies are big on brawn but low on bravery—and brains! Soon Ni-oi is hiding in the bathroom after hearing Dokkoi's thunderous footsteps. And Dokkoi is duped by the false show of ...
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Overview

Winner of Australia's Children's Book Council Picture Book of the Year Award (burst or headline)

What happens with Ni-ou, the self-proclaimed "strongest fellow in Japan" rows to China to challenge his counter part, Dokkoi? Not what you'd expect. These two enormous bullies are big on brawn but low on bravery—and brains! Soon Ni-oi is hiding in the bathroom after hearing Dokkoi's thunderous footsteps. And Dokkoi is duped by the false show of Ni-oi's strength. Before they know ti, both bullies are back safe at home, grateful that they never had to fight. Eve since that day, when people in China lift up something heavy, they say, "Ni-ou!" And in Japan they say, "Dokkoi-sho!" The short accessible text makes this folktale perfect for younger children. With hilarious illustrations by an award-winning Japanese artist and the silly antics of two goofy bullies, this story proves that bigger isn't necessarily better.

Two bullies, one from China and one from Japan, inadvertently intimidate one another before meeting face to face and never fight as a result.

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Editorial Reviews

Horn Book Magazine
This silly story of two giants with more bravado than bravery is perhaps a pourquoi tale, but one that answers a question few would think to ask. Ni-ou is an enormous man who proclaims himself "the strongest fellow in Japan." When he learns of a strong man in China called Dokkoi, he sets off across the sea to challenge him. Before the match can take place, however, each man is inadvertently scared off by his opponent, and each returns home with new respect for the other. And since that day, when people in China lift up something heavy, they say, 'Niou!' And people in Japan say, 'Dokkoi-sho!' Calligraphic-type strokes depict the giants as overgrown sumo wrestlers and, more delicately, evoke the Japanese and Chinese landscapes with a few buildings, trees, and mountains. The tan colors; a two-page spread of the aqua sea curving up in the shape of the Earth is especially striking. The light, amusing tale offers good fun in an attractive package.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Imbued with a Japanese sensibility, Morimoto's artwork is a model of balance, her spare, uncluttered backdrops and clean sweep of brushwork creating a strong visual presence in this subtly humorous picture book. Ni-ou, the self-proclaimed "strongest fellow in Japan," sets out to challenge his Chinese counterpart, Dokkoi. Ni-ou travels across the sea and settles in to wait for him, but after being told that what sounds like an earthquake is actually the returning Dokkoi's footsteps, he experiences a sudden change of heart and hightails it back to Japan. Flinging an anchor out across the sea, Dokkoi snags his erstwhile challenger's boat. Ni-ou files through the chain with a knife conveniently given him by a priest, but Dokkoi thinks Ni-ou has ripped it apart; and the two bellicose blusterers go home immensely relieved to have avoided a showdown. The text acts as a foil for the droll watercolors, as when readers are told matter-of-factly that Ni-ou "climbed out of [Dokkoi's] bathroom window," but see that in fact he's torn an enormous hole in the side of Dokkoi's house in his eagerness to flee. Set against a parchment-brown background, the artwork combines traditional stylized Japanese elements with a contemporary tweaking of perspectives. The outsize Ni-ou and Dokkoi are feisty caricatures of belligerence, and their story is not just entertaining but also a lively commentary on the true nature of bullies. Ages 3-7. (July) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-An original Japanese tale about two big bullies who become so intimidated by one another that they lose their will to fight. Ni-ou proclaims himself "the strongest fellow in Japan," and seeks to broaden his fame by traveling across the ocean to challenge the renowned Chinese strongman Dokkoi. On his way, Ni-ou meets a mysterious priest who gives him a file that will cut through anything. As Ni-ou waits at his enormous opponent's house, the thunder of Dokkoi's approaching footsteps intimidates him to such a degree that he escapes through the bathroom window rather than face him. Dokkoi chases after him, heaving an anchor at Ni-ou's retreating boat to stop him. But when Ni-ou cuts the heavy anchor chain with his file, Dokkoi concludes that Ni-ou has ripped it apart with his bare hands, and breathes a sigh of relief not to have met him face to face. Splendid watercolor illustrations enhance this story's humor and sense of place. The depictions of the vast, undulating sea with its towering stylized waves are particularly impressive. Although the translated text does not flow as smoothly as the sea, it does not detract too greatly from the overall success of the book.-Teri Markson, Los Angeles Public Library Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This tale of bluster and arrogance, and the inadvertent comeuppance visited upon two blowhard principals, is splendidly conceived and gratifyingly executed. Ni-ou is a great hulk of a man who proudly proclaims himself "the strongest fellow in Japan." When he hears that over in China there is another strong man, Dokkoi, Ni-ou figures that a contest is in order. Before embarking to China, he offers up a little prayer at a temple, where a mysterious priest (actually, a god) gives him a file that will cut through anything. Ni-ou arrives at Dokkoi's house only to be told by the great man's mother that he is out. Footsteps that quake the earth foretell Dokkoi's approach, unnerving Ni-ou, who effects his escape. Further misunderstandings, and a prodigious use of the file leave both men grateful there was no contest, and Dokkoi's and Ni-ou's reputations thereafter cross borders and seas. The nimble text and art make the most of these events, in a tale that both cuts the two bullies down to size, and preserves•for all their girth and brawn•their humanity. The artwork evokes Eastern scrollwork, but also invests the story with sly humor. (Picture book. 3-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780517800614
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 7/20/1999
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD370L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.76 (w) x 9.94 (h) x 0.43 (d)

Meet the Author

Junko Morimoto lives in Australia.
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