We try to take our littles (ages 5 and 3) the library almost every Saturday to get a fresh armful of books to tide us over for the week. Last week, since my 5yo and his friend have been telling us about the local summer camp bully, we decided to try to pick out a few with a bullying message. Unfortunately, I forgot to get them to officially weigh in on which they liked… so I’ve included other indicators of their interest (which I honestly think work better).

The Recess Queen by Alexis O’Neill. The bullying recess queen runs the schoolyard, until a new girl (who doesn’t know any better) breaks all the queen’s rules and then (gasp) asks the queen to play. Now that she has a friend, the queen is no longer a bully.

Vibrant illustrations and a quick, fun style… but I’m not going to lie, I have a little trouble with the whole “just be the bully’s friend” message. It’s a nice idea, but honestly I’ve never actually seen that work, and there’s no way I would tell my 5yo to go try to be friends with the 7yo that keeps pushing and hitting the smaller kids. ⭐⭐⭐½

We read this book once, no requests for a reread, and they didn’t pick it up themselves. 😕

Chrysantheum by Kevin Henkes. This was a super cute story about a mouse with a long unusual name. She loves her name until the other kids at school start to make fun of her for it. Her parents continue to boost her up, and eventually the cool teacher weighs in to say she has her own unique name that she loves, and everyone changes their tune.

I loved how this showed the back and forth about how Chrysantheum felt about her name both when she was at school with the mean kids, and when she as at home with her loving parents. I thought the positive influence of the teacher rang true, and enjoyed this cute little story. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

We read this book once, no requests for a reread, and they didn’t pick it up themselves. 😕

No T. Rex in the Library by Toni Buzzeo. A little girl is sent to time-out for being too loud in the library, and then a T Rex jumps out of a book and begins its own wild rampage through a slew of other story books, while the little girl tries to get him to behave as he should in a library.

Not a whole lot to say about this one. Cute, picture book fun with vibrant images. I don’t think mine totally understood that the girl was trying to get the dinosaur to behave in the library until I explained it to them, but neither did they really care. If there’s a dinosaur involved. That’s a thumbs up from them. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I read this one twice, and my 3yo picked it up several times by himself (because, you know, dinosaurs). 😊

Little Boy Detective Blue by Steve Metzger. Detective Blue tries to solve the case of the missing Little Miss Muffett with a slew of clever nursery rhyme twists and vibrant, comic-book like illustratations.

This one went about a mile over my 5yo and 3yo’s head. They’re not super familiar with the old nursery rhymes, and even if they were, I don’t think they would’ve gotten the clever twists. I thought it was a cute book, but maybe a better fit or an older kid (7 or 8) that knows their nursery rhymes. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

We read this book once, no requests for a reread, and they didn’t pick it up themselves. 😕

Dinosailors by Deb Lund. A pack of dinosaurs decide they want to be pirates! And then it’s harder than it looks.

Bright, fun illustrations, and short punchy writing, plus I definitely got a laugh out of the scene of the seasick dinosaurs puking into the sky. I think this would be a hit with any picture book reader and I highly recommend. It would also make a great gift for someone with a picture book reader. I will definitely be looking for the sequel, All Aboard the Dino Train next time we’re at the library. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I was asked to read this book at least three times, my 3yo and 5yo both picked it up multiple times, with my 3yo also narrating to me what happens. 😍

I Walk with Vanessa by Kerascoët. There are no words in this book, but the illustrations are very clear. My 3yo and 5yo still needed the plot explained the first time but then got it right away. (New girl gets bullied, and then someone decides to walk with her to school and everything turns around.)

Simple but very clear illustrations, there’s not a whole lot to be said about this book. I do like the silent message of being kind to those that could use a friend, and how friends can help disempower a bully. ⭐⭐⭐⭐ ½

Both the 3yo and the 5yo got this book right away, and picked it up at least once by themselves. No requests for rereads… but since there are no words, who needs one! 😊

Enemy Pie by Derek Munson. Jeremy has a neighborhood “enemy” so his Dad suggests that they make him Enemy Pie. But first, Jeremy has to go spend the day with his enemy, and they become friends.

Solid writing and illustrations, but once again, this is that same message I’m not sure about⁠—where the misunderstood bully ⁠magically turns into a friend. Honestly, if anyone has an anecdote where this worked out for them, I would love to hear it. But if there’s a bully in the office, you can be sure, I will steer clear of them. Who needs that kind of negativity in their life? ⭐⭐⭐½

We read this book once, no requests for a reread, and they didn’t pick it up themselves. 😕

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell. LOVED THIS BOOK. Seriously, I’m considering buying it for our shelf. It is perfection. Molly Lou Melon is different, but her grandmother gives her all sorts of fantastic advice about how to embrace her own awesome and live life to the fullest. This comes in handy when she moves to a new town and someone tries to bully her for being different. Unbothered, she brings the Full On Awesome, we’re all rightfully impressed, and basically the bully just can’t even deal.

I’m so on board, and if you’re looking to buy a picture book in the next 5 years, I would put this on your list. Six glowing stars! 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

We read this book twice, but I didn’t see them pick it up for themselves. 😊

The Kid from Planet Z by Nancy Krulik. I picked up this early chapter book for my 5yo to read, but he/we didn’t get around to it. No rating, but we might check it out again in the future.

Batman: Catwoman’s Halloween Heist by Eric Fein. This is an early chapter book that follows batgirl and robin as they go to a Halloween costume party and Catwoman shows up to steal a diamond. It also has a few comic book like illustrations. I only read a couple chapters so it doesn’t get a rating from me, but my 5yo was seen with it quite often. I’m not sure sure if he read the whole thing, but for his level of interest it gets a 😍 (super heroes are a pretty easy win from him.)

The Last Firehawk #4: Lullaby Lake by Katrina Charman. Another early chapter book with illustrations, my 5yo devoured the first three of these books, but he’s still working through this one. I think the basic ongoing premise is kid-warrior owl, spunky squirrel friend, and quickly-growing baby firehawk are trying to thwart evil vulture and co., but I’ve only read a few chapters with him. I don’t think he likes them quite as much as the Dragon Master books (I think Firehawk is a little scarier), but they’re still the first thing he pages through every time we check out books, so I’m also giving this one 😍 .

Library regular right here.

Whew! And that’s it for now! Tune in next week for the review of our next library haul!