Monday, August 26, 2013

Llama Llama and the Bully Goat - book review

"Medicine for the soul"  - Inscription over the door of the Library

Title:  Llama Llama and the Bully Goat
Author and Illustrator:  Anna Dewdney

If you are not familiar with the great Llama Llama books then you are in for a real treat.  This is Anna Dewdney's newest picture book in the series and it is adorable.  Llama is ready to give us another life lesson -- so listen closely.  This lesson is about bullying and how to deal with it even at an early age.  I like the message and the fact that it is geared to younger children so they can learn exactly what to do if they are bullied or have a tendency to be a bully themselves.

Gilroy Goat is not a nice goat.  All the kids at school are engaged in drawing fun pictures, singing great songs, writing stories to express themselves and learning to count.  Gilroy chides and makes fun of them which does not sit well with the group.  He thinks that everything that they are dong is silly and stupid and he finally says a "not-nice"name. "  The head authority (the teacher) steps in and she in no certain terms lets him know the folly of his ways and that that type of behaviour will not be tolerated in her classroom.  Dewdney writes in catchy ryhming verse:

"Teacher has some things to say.  Calling names is not OK.  Being mean is not allowed.  Teacher says to stop it now."

But Gilroy disobeys and at recess time he kicks sand and dirt on Llama and pushes Llama's friend Nelly into the sandbox.  That's it. They have had enough of his bullying and they go to the teacher to report his misconduct.  The teacher puts Gilroy on a long time-out so he can reflect on his bad behaviour and during this time a great transformation occurs.  The teacher finally lets Gilroy play again and to everyone's amazement they find he does learn his lesson and plays nicely from then on with the other children and becomes their friend.

Oh that life could be that simple and lessons learned so quickly.  The whole point of the book is to open up a dialogue about what to do about someone who is acting in a bullying fashion.  You can discuss how to handle a bully - go tell someone - and do not let him get away with it.  Young students will benefit from the discussion about good behaviour, friendship and the necessity of seeking out an adult for help.  Dewdney does not portray the Bully Goat in a way that scares kids but even young kids will recognize that Gilroy's behaviour was not okay.  She also has Llama Llama and his friend Nelly Gnu stand up to the bully first before going to tell the teacher, which in itself is a very important life lesson.

About the author:

Anna Dewdney lives just over a covered bridge in southern Vermont. She is the New York Times bestselling author and illustrator of Llama Llama Red Pajama. Other award-winning books in the series include Llama Lama and the Bully GoatLlama Lama Time to ShareLlama Llama Misses MamaLlama Llama Holiday Drama, and Llama Llama Mad at Mama. She is also the author/illustrator of Nobunny's PerfectRoly Poly Pangolin, and Grumpy Gloria. Anna worked as a rural mail carrier and taught at a boys' boarding school for many years before becoming a full-time author and illustrator. Anna is an outspoken advocate of literacy; she speaks regularly on this topic and has published articles in the Wall Street Journal and other national outlets. She is a mom to two away-from-home daughters and three stay-at-home dogs.

                                          Book Review Rating:   9 (close to perfection)

Read on and read always!   Have an awesome day!

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