Published: August 6, 2013
Genre: Children's Literature
Source: Personal Copy
I have decided to include book reviews of children's books from time to time in my Raising Readers posts.
Llama Llama is learning lots of new things at school and making many friends. But when Gilroy Goat starts teasing him and some of their classmates, Llama Llama isn't sure what to do. And then he remembers what his teacher told him—walk away and tell someone. It works! But then Llama Llama feels badly. Can he and Gilroy try to be friends again?
Both of my kids adore the Llama Llama books--so much so that we actually own them all. So, this one arrived on our doorstep the day it was published and the kids couldn't wait for me to read it to them.
Bullying is a hot topic now, as it should be. A book such as Llama Llama and the Bully Goat is a good one. I'm a little wary of some of the anti-bullying messages out there, especially to younger kids. I think there is a distinct difference between being bullied and being picked on. I am not condoning kids picking on each other and I do believe that, if not addressed, children who pick on other children may become bullies. But, I also believe that there needs to be a difference in how kids are taught to deal with these situations. In the case of bullying, kids need to get adults involved. However, I believe that children need to learn how to stand up for themselves when it comes to being picked on. I know everyone will not agree with me on this. But, hey, I spent a week earlier this summer with 27 kids who came to me every single time someone sat in their chair because they were taught to always go to an adult. It was a very, very long week.
But, back to the book....Dewdney does a good job walking this line. She doesn't portray the Bully Goat in a way that scares children, but even young kids will be able to recognize that his behavior is not okay. And she has Llama Llama and Nelly Gnu stand up to the Bully Goat before going to the teacher, which is a very important lesson!
The later Llama Llama books have become more and more instructional, which is not necessarily a bad thing. I know that the seeds of bullying can be found in preschool classrooms, to Llama Llama and the Bully Goat may be just the book to pull out for a young child who is having trouble with a classmate.