Bullies Never Win
by Cuyler, Margery; Howard, Arthur (ILT)

First-grader Jessica worries about everything Brenda the bully might tease her about, until the day she has had enough and discovers a new way to deal with Brenda.

Margery Cuyler has written stories ever since she learned how to write. A children's book editor and author for more than twenty years, she now devotes most of her time to writing. Her many children's books include 100th Day Worries, illustrated by Arthur Howard, and The Biggest, Best Snowman, illustrated by Will Hillenbrand. Margery lives with her family in Princeton, New Jersey, in a house that's said to be haunted by a ghost!

Arthur Howard is the illustrator of Goatilocks and the Three Bears by Erica S. Perl; Noodle & Lou by Liz Garton Scanlon; the Mr. Putter & Tabby series, Gooseberry Park series, and Motor Mouse series by Cynthia Rylant; and his own picture books. He has also coauthored and illustrated many books of humor for adults and appeared for seven seasons in the PBS math-oriented production Square One Television. He lives in New York City.

First-grader Jessica is a worrier, and her biggest worry is the class bully, Brenda, who makes fun of how she looks and what she does. All alone in the cafeteria, Jessica comes close to tears, and at home she cannot sleep. Then a classmate and her friends support Jessica and tell her to stand up to the bully, and Jessica talks it all over with her mom. What should she do? Tell the teacher? Mock the bully? Finally, she does stand up to Brenda, who slinks away. The book's title is an overstatement, and the solution may be a bit simple; if only handling bullies was always so easy. But the universal scenario will open up discussion and encourage kids to develop coping strategies. With simple dialogue and big, ink-and-watercolor cartoon-style illustrations, this book captures the drama and familiar feelings-sadness, loneliness, fear, and sometimes triumph-that come with facing up to bullies. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

Worrier Jessica's previous problems with finding 100 things, remembering fire-safety rules and reading aloud all seem trivial in the face of Brenda Bailey, the bully of the first grade (Hooray for Reading Day, 2008, etc.). The quintessential girl bully, "perfect" Brenda doesn't steal or fight-she teases and belittles. Downtrodden Jessica changes everything about herself to try to get Brenda to stop. Ignoring her doesn't work, and the threat of telling the teacher only provokes the moniker of tattletale. In the end, Jessica comes up with a reply that she hopes will put an end to the abuse. While readers do not find out if Brenda has been defeated, it is plain that Jessica's actions have boosted her self-confidence. Howard's pen, ink and watercolor illustrations masterfully capture Brenda's "perfection," including the ugly face of jealousy and meanness that she so often exhibits. Body language speaks volumes-as Brenda heaps on the abuse, Jessica seems almost to shrink. With messages on many different levels for both the bully and the bullied, this has a home on library shelves. (Picture book. 5-8) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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