September 18, 2013

Book Review: “Lucy and the Bully” -- great for working on inferencing and problem-solving!

"Lucy and the Bully" - Official cover art

Title: “Lucy and the Bully”
Author / Illustrator: Claire Alexander
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company, 2008
Recommended age: Preschool – 1st grade

“Lucy and the Bully” is one of my all-time favorite books to read with my Social skills group when we address teasing and how to respond to getting teased. While the recommended age range states preschool to 1st grade, I have read this book to 5th graders and even they got into the story.
The story deals with Lucy, an artistic student in Ms. Goosie’s classroom. Her friends just love having her draw pictures for them. Only Tommy (incidentally the character is a bull – how cute is that?) does not seem to be impressed with Lucy’s talent and soon “accidents” such as a spilled water jar over Lucy’s artwork and a broken (okay, let’s say trampled) sculpture, begin to happen. The book delves into Lucy’s fear of being bullied and describes how she is bottling these incidents up inside without telling anyone. When she finally does break down and tell her mother, the problems are resolved by Tommy getting a talking to by his parents. In the end it turns out that Tommy was simply jealous of Lucy’s gift for drawing and they end up becoming friends.

While the resolution of this story is not necessarily the most realistic, it is still a wonderful story to read in order to address issues such as recognizing when others’ actions are purposely designed to hurt someone’s  feelings, what to do when being threatened, what to do when someone won’t stop teasing you,  and the motivation behind someone teasing.

This book is also great to work on inferencing, as a lot of the information is implied (for example, Lucy's things getting broken over the course of the week).

The illustrations are charming and colorful, which make this story even more attractive. I am really glad I bought this book, it has been a really nice resource to have. You could even use it to simply work on story comprehension with younger students.

I am posting a lesson plan with comprehension and inferencing questions that I wrote to accompany this book for FREE in my TpT store. Get it here.

I did check on amazon.com and it looks like this book may be going out of print, however, there are some used copies available. I suggest grabbing it while you can!

~ Viola

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