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Monthly Archives: May 2015

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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.

-Booklist

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