Monday Review! Bully


This little bull doesn’t know just how mean he is to his friends.”Chicken! Slow poke! Pig!” he calls them when they ask to play. How long does it take for a little bull to realize he’s being a bully?

UGGGGG 4.jpeg

2013, ages 4-8, $16.99, Neal Porter Book/ROARING BROOK PRESS


I should probably write something about the 4th of July but I’m not. Instead, I decided to write about one of the picture books I bought at the New York SCBWI conference in 2015 titled Bully by Laura Vaccaro Seeger.

Seeger uses simple, bold illustrations with precise wording to create this tale of one bull being bullied in the beginning, then almost unintentionally spreading it around to others. In the end his friends forgive him when he apologizes, making the story pretty straight forward.

I can’t say that Seeger’s work is one of my favorites, but it’s definitely a fully thought out concept and here is why in the good/bad list:

  1. Good-concept of bull growing along with his bullying is spot on.
  2. Good- the decision to create the part of the story where the little bull is being bullied by a larger bull before the title page sets the tone rather nicely, giving a reason for the story being told.
  3. Bad- I don’t care for the background on each page, however it gives a farm vibe with the hay colors and texture that suits the theme (maybe I just don’t like the digital repetitive texture.)
  4. Good- simple illustrations match well with simple manuscript.
  5. General rule for this one (could have a negative impact on the story)- reader must read out loud in growing, bullying tone to create the full impact. If you just go through Seeger’s piece in monotone it just won’t work, the story’s too short and the reader will fly by it without thought. As a general rule for most picture books though, if you’re not reading a PB out loud then you’re not really reading a PB at all.

And that’s the review for today! Hmm, I wonder what I’ll write about next week…


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