Seeger, Laura Vaccaro. 2013. BULLY. New York: Roaring Brook Press. ISBN 9781596436305 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK- 2]
A young bull is treated harshly by a bigger bull, and he in turn does the same to his smaller friends. They ask him to play; he refuses and goes on to call them names. When one friend finally stands up to the bull and calls him “Bully!,” he realizes the error of his ways. He apologizes and asks his friends if they want to play.
Seeger’s artwork is simple and bold. The animals are drawn with thick black lines that pop against a textured manila background. As Bully calls his friends names, his size and words grow until he fills and later extends off the page. When he realizes he has become a bully, he deflates instantly. Through simple facial lines, the illustrator perfectly portrays the feelings of the animals when called names and of the bull when he realizes his wrongdoing. This book is clever, funny, and thoughtful. With sparse text, an important story is told.
This book can be used with young children to define “bullying.” Readers can identify what led the bully to act the way he did and to discuss what he could have done differently. They can also discuss the goat’s actions and why these made an impact on the bull. The names used for each animal have meaning. Encourage students to think about the names and why they are funny but could also be particularly hurtful. Students can also recreate Seeger’s simple illustrations.
Another book about a memorable bull:
Leaf, Munro. THE STORY OF FERDINAND. ISBN 9780613301442
Another book about bullying for young readers:
Dewdney, Anna. LLAMA LLAMA AND THE BULLY GOAT. ISBN 9780670013951