The Bully Blockers Club

The Bully Blockers Club - Picture Book Cover
Albert Whitman and Company

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Summary of The Bully Blockers Club

The Bully Blockers Club is the story of Lotty Raccoon whose school year gets off to a bad start when she is bullied by one of the other students, Grant Grizzly, who also bullies her classmates. Rather than providing one solution, author Teresa Bateman provides multiple strategies that might work.

When the teacher becomes aware of the problem and Lotty gets the other kids involved to take a stand, the problem is solved.

The use of a variety of animals to portray the students allows for entertaining illustrations by Jackie Urbanovic and helps keep young listeners engaged. I recommend The Bully Blockers Club for kids ages 5 to 10 to enjoy at home and in the classroom.

The Problem

Lotty Raccoon is excited about the start of the school year until her classmate Grant Grizzly begins to bully her. When Lotty gets home, she tells her big sister, Lily, and her little brother, Jerome, about the bully. When Lotty expresses concern about being a tattletale if she tells her teacher, Lily reassures her that "it's not tattling to let the teacher know there's a problem." However, Lilly is not convinced.

Attempts at a Solution

After discussing the problem with her brother and sister, Lotty decides to follow her big sister's advice and ignore the bully. That doesn't stop the bully. Lotty is so upset she ends up in the nurse's office with a stomach ache.

When Lotty tells Jerome and Lily about it, Jerome at first suggests smacking Grant, but Lily says, "No nose-smacking!" Lily again talks to Lotty about telling her teacher, but Lotty is still worried that her teacher will think she's a tattletale. When her sister suggests trying to be the bully's friend and her brother suggests she act as if the bullying is a joke, Lolly decides to follow their advice.

These strategies don't work either.

When Lotty bursts into tears at dinner, Lily and Jerome go ahead and explain about the bully and the bullying to their mom and dad. When her parents find out that Lolly hasn't talked to her teacher, her father tells her he will call Mrs. Kallberg and tells Lotty, "If Grant bothers you again, look him in the eye and tell him to stop. Keep telling him until he does, and make sure Mrs. Kallberg knows."

Although Mrs. Kallberg talks to Lotty and Grant after Lotty's dad calls her, and says she'll keep an eye out for bullying, Grant continues to bully Lotty when no adults are close by. When her parents find out that the bullying is continuing, her father is ready to step in again to help.

The Bully Blockers Club: A Successful Strategy at Last!

However, Lotty tells her dad to wait. Something Jerome said, "What are teachers going to do? They can't follow her around all day" gives her an idea. Who is around all day? Other kids are and Grant has been bullying many of them, too.

The next day, Lotty invites some of the other children being bullied to form a club to stop the bullying. That afternoon, every time Grant tries to bully someone, all of the club members step up and ask him - loudly - what he's doing, which attract an adult's attention, and Grant's bullying is stopped.

When Mrs. Kallberg gathers the class together to discuss the bullying problem and rules to prevent bullying, Lotty tells everyone about The Bully Blockers Club. More and more kids join, and with both the kids and the adults watching, things got better. Now Lotty is happy to go to school.

Why do I Recommend the book?

Author Teresa Bateman does a thorough job of introducing a variety of strategies that can be effective with bullies, even if they don't work with Grant: Ignoring the bully, trying to be a friend to the bully, treating the bullying as a joke and standing up to the bully. She also acknowledges kids' fears about being perceived as tattletales if they tell their teachers, while at the same time, emphasizing through Lily and Lotty's parents' advice the importance of talking to the teacher and reassuring them that, as Lily says, "it's not tattling to let the teacher know there's a problem."

In addition, Bateman acknowledges the reality that adults can't be everywhere at once, so kids will also need to be involved in fighting bullying. While this is a subject that can be scary for a child, the illustrations by Jackie Urbanovic really lighten the mood and add interest and humor to the story (as do Lotty's siblings, particularly her little brother, Jerome). With each character portrayed as an animal, but everything else just like a traditional school, this story will appeal to a wide range of elementary school-age children.

Additional Resources

At the end of The Bully Busters Club, there is a helpful page of information about bullying for adults. If you are looking for other good books about bullying, I recommend the picture books Oliver Button Is a Sissy by Tomie dePaola and by Jacqueline Woodson, with illustrations by E.B. Lewis. I also recommend The Skinny on Bullying, which, while directed at middle school-age kids, also contains lots of helpful information for parents and younger kids. Other helpful resources include the following quizzes and articles: Is Your Child Being Bullied? A Screening Quiz, Is your Child a Bully? A Screening Quiz, Bullying Behavior in the Tween Years, and What is Cyberbullying?

(Albert Whitman and Company, 2004. ISBN: 9780807509197)

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