Friday, September 26, 2014

Snow Joke by Bruce Degen -- NOT RECOMMENDED

Degen, Bruce Snow Joke. PICTURE BOOK. Holiday House, 2014. $14.95. Content: G.

Red is a bully who finds it hilarious to tease and hurt Bunny and her friends, but when a joke misfires on him, he's the one who's hurt and it's Bunny and her friends who are laughing. They quickly forgive Red when they see how sad he is, however, and all become friends again.

The text is very simple for beginning readers, and the pictures are colorful. However, the message of the book is disconcerting. Why do Bunny and her friends continue to play with Red when he's mean to them every time? Is that really the best way to handle a bully? Forgiveness is great, but repeatedly playing with a tyrant like Red and getting upset when he does something awful becomes ridiculous after a while. And then the resolution, when it happens, is only possible when Bunny and her friends are just as mean to Red as he was to them -- again, not great behavior modeling. It's also hard to believe that Red has learned his lesson and will not bully again, so the sappy, happy ending seems temporary at best.

Pre-K, EL (K-3) -- NOT RECOMMENDED. Reviewer: Caryn

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