Interacting with other animals in mean-spirited ways, a little bull calls names and behaves in an intimidating manner until his bullying behavior is brought to his attention. By the Caldecott Honor-winning author of First the Egg. - (Baker & Taylor)
- (McMillan Palgrave)
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
*Starred Review* After a big bull tells him to go away, a little bull looks hurt and dejected. When a friendly rabbit, chicken, and turtle ask him if he wants to play, to each smaller animal, he bellows his answer (NO!). He grows larger (CHICKEN!), and LARGER (SLOWPOKE!) with each name he calls. After seven name-calling episodes, he has grown so enormous that only his hoof fits in the picture book. The tables are turned when a goat yells BULLY! Bully? asks the bull, looking hurt and insecure. Suddenly deflated, he apologizes to his friends and asks, Wanna play? Bold black lines and flat colors define the images of the animals, which stand out against the textured, ivory-toned backgrounds. Delivered in speech balloons, the only text is terse dialogue delivered in a font that grows larger as the bull roars louder. His ego deflates in an amusing, cartoonlike scene, showing him spinning like a punctured balloon. Perhaps the most unusual aspect of the book is the consideration of the bully's point of view. 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. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews
In this barnyard drama, a large bull tells a little bull to GO AWAY! When other animals ask the little bull to play, he calls them names: CHICKEN! SLOW POKE! PIG! In Seeger's barnyard drama, the narrative appears in dialogue bubbles, and the pictures, drawn in thick lines and in flat colors on textured rice paper, fill in the rest of the story.
Horn Book Magazine Reviews
Showing that she can be just as clever with words as she is with images, Seeger takes on name-calling in this barnyard drama. The action begins before the title page with a large gray bull telling a little brown bull to "GO AWAY!"; with a page turn, we see the dejected little brown bull making his way across the title page. When he comes across other animals in the yard who ask him to play, he calls them names: "CHICKEN!" "SLOW POKE!" "PIG!" We can see from each animal's reaction that the names hurt, in spite of the fact that each name the bull uses is based on the species' actual name or a defining characteristic. We can also see that the bull seems to grow in stature with each pejorative he shouts, as if the belittling is literal. When a billy goat comes back with a disparaging name for the bull -- "BULLY!" -- it hurts his feelings so much that it brings him right back down to size, and he makes a tearful apology. The complete narrative appears in dialogue bubbles in quick bursts of one or two syllables, and the pictures tell the rest of the story by showing only the animal characters and the barnyard fence drawn in thick lines and in flat colors on textured rice paper. Perfect for the preschool set, the book is deceptively simple at first glance, but, as with name-calling itself, there is a lot going on beneath the surface. kathleen t. horning
Publishers Weekly Reviews
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)
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School Library Journal Reviews
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
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