Literary Titan Book Award - Gold: 5 Stars
Mattie Boombalatty by Wayne Gerard Trotman is a children's illustrated short story that follows Mattie Boombalatty as she moves to a new town and falls victim to bullying by her new schoolmates. Trotman's simple yet profound lesson about morality, combined with the book's vivid and lively illustrations makes this a fantastic book for children.
Nhat Hao Nguyen, the illustrator of the book, is a skilled artist who makes each scene and character come to life. He uses vivid colors that pop, and his life-like yet cherub-like character illustrations add just the right amount of magic and realism to this children's picture book. His attention to detail on each page is fantastic.
Trotman's message about treating others who treat us lesser than we deserve is, as aforementioned, simple yet poignant. Mattie faces many anxieties that are understandable and normal for a school-aged girl. Some of her schoolmates decide for no reason that they do not like her and, as mean schoolchildren do, they make their feelings known. As distraught as she is over being taunted by her peers, she displays strength in refusing to wish them ill will, even when she comes across a glowing opportunity to get revenge. Mattie is ultimately rewarded for choosing the high road, and she reaches her happy ending in the story. While we as humans are not always rewarded for rising above our circumstances, Trotman makes it clear that the reward is not what matters - rather, the peace of mind that comes with choosing the right path is what ultimately matters.
Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite - 5 Stars
Change is never easy. When Mattie Boombalatty, her parents, and Grandaddy move to the city so her father can work, Mattie has to attend a new school. Making friends isn't easy for Mattie. The girls at the new school bully her relentlessly, calling her all kinds of mean things. Mattie is so sad that when visited by the Blue Fairy who wants to grant her a wish of riches and power, all Mattie wishes is for the mean girls to no longer be mean. The Blue Fairy gets things wrong, changing all the bullies at Mattie's school into cherry tarts. It's a spell that's difficult to reverse, but that's all Mattie wants as she realizes she can't change the world by turning mean herself; she just has to learn how to live in it the way it is.
Wayne Gerard Trotman's picture book story, Mattie Boombalatty: Wayne Gerard Trotman's Rhyming Stories, is a clever way to teach young people not only that bullying hurts, but also that it's important to remain oneself, in spite of the bullying. The story is told in rhyming verse, beginning and ending with an introduction to the main characters, the Boombalatty family: "In a town named Bascini/ Lived Family Boombalatty:/ Granddaddy Boombalatty/ Daddy Boombalatty/ Mummy Boombalatty/ And Mattie Boombalatty." There are lots of children's stories that address bullying, but this one is unique as it turns the issue around and makes the bullied person into a stronger, better person by dealing with the issue through acceptance, even when others don't accept her. A powerful message. Cleverly told, fun to read, and beautifully illustrated.