________________ CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 26 . . . . March 9, 2012


How to Handle a Bully.

Nancy Wilcox Richards. Illustrated by David Sourwine.
Toronto, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2010.
92 pp., pbk., $5.99.
ISBN 978-0-545-98597-0.

Subject Headings:
Playgrounds-Juvenile fiction.
Friendship-Juvenile fiction.
Bullying-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.

Review by Kim Skarra.

*** /4



I gulped. He was standing right below me. I looked down as his long arms reached up. Then he grabbed hold of my pants and started to pull! I felt my jeans slowly sliding down. He was trying to rip my pants off! In a minute I'd be hanging there in my underwear. I kicked my feet, trying to make him let go, but he held on even tighter. "Stop it!" I screamed.

It was at one of Ms. MacArthur's grade three classroom morning meetings that Rilla and her friends learn about Bayfield's first annual fitness challenge. The winner of the challenge will get a brand new bike as well as a water bottle and matching helmet. Rilla is unsure about entering the race because she is still has training wheels on her bike and is worried about the bike obstacle course part of challenge. Rilla's friends offer to help her learn to ride a two-wheeler and decide to practice every day at the park.

internal art      It is while Rilla and her friends, Lauren and Nicholas, are practicing at the park that they encounter the bullies, Cameron, Oliver, and Olivia, who call themselves the River Rats. Cameron and his friends tease Rilla about her training wheels and start calling her Rilla Gorilla. Cameron wants to embarrass Rilla and tries to pull down her pants in front of everyone. The bullying escalates when Cameron causes Rilla to fall off her bike and she receives several scrapes to her hands and knees Rilla, knowing she must find a way to deal with the bullies, comes up with a plan. She and her friends decide that there is safety in numbers, and so they decide to get several kids from school to go to the park with them. When Cameron, Oliver and Olivia see they are outnumbered, they leave the park.

      How to Handle a Bully is part of a series of books about bullying by Nancy Wilcox Richards. David Sourwine's illustrations are in black and white, but they do have a great deal of detail to them. The facial expressions on the characters faces appear so lifelike that readers can almost feel what the characters are feeling.

      Bullying is a serious issue that many kids face at some point in their lives. This book is for anyone who has been bullied, is being bullied, knows someone being bullied, or if they are a bully themselves. How to Handle a Bully does have a light tone and many comical incidents, and it does show kids ways to deal with the situation.


Kim Skarra is a school librarian at Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Elementary School in Calgary, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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