Friday, July 11, 2014


by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Ages: 0-8 years (approximately grades preschool – 2)

One day, a young bull is told to “go away!” by a bigger bull, presumably an older sibling or otherwise more authoritative figure. Visibly rumpled by this experience, the young bull goes to the farm where he encounters other animals who ask if he wants to play. After telling each of the animals exactly what he thinks of them (“Chicken!” to the chicken and “Slow poke!” to the turtle), a bystanding goat decides to call this “bully” out on his actions, giving him a little taste of his own "Bully!" medicine. Realizing that what he has done to his farm friends is exactly what the older bull had done to him, the young bull regrets his actions, apologizes for hurting his friends, and is very lucky indeed that his friends take him up on his renewed offer to play.

A wonderful precursor to The Hundred Dresses or Jane, the Fox, and Me, Bully is a simplistic depiction of how being mean affects all those involved. The young bull’s animal friends slowly flee from the scene as the bully becomes physically bigger and bigger as his actions escalate, until he eventually can only fit a hoof on a page. After discovering that he’s a bully, the young bull physically deflates and spirals down to his normal size and regular ego, giving him room to finally apologize to his friends. The sketch-like illustrations on a very simple background bring the focus to the characters’ actions, and also make the overall message stand out in a not-too heavy-handed, bullying way.

Find Bully in our catalog.

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