Book Review: Henry and the Bully

I was not asked to review this book and was not compensated in any way. This is my honest opinion. 

With my children, we read Henry and the Bully by Nancy Carlson. Though my family educates at home my children are not immune to bullies and hearing about bullies so it is always a good idea to talk to them about how to deal with a bully. 

If you are using books to teach your young children about bullies and how to deal with them, I, unfortunately, would not recommend Henry and the Bully. 

The illustrations are wonderful and bright, perfect to keep a child’s attention. The story pages are short and sweet and can keep attention easily. My main issues are:
-When the children go to a trusted adult, a teacher, nothing is done.
-When the main character sees his bully in public it seems that him seeing the bully in a dress is enough to make the bully stop. 
-Not once in the story does the child tell his parents.
These are three lessons I had to go over with my children because they are incorrect or a bad sign of the society we live in which needs to change.

First, if a child is bullied they should be able to go to a trusted adult and something be done about it. The fact that nothing was done about it and the teacher left everytime the bully went to be unkind to the children really bothered me. I don’t need to see a bully in action to finally decide to do something. As a volunteer, parent, and scout leader I will not do things this way. So if this is how things are done, it needs to change and as adults, we should be ashamed we are handling bullying that way in this day and age. 

Second, in the story, the child being bullied goes to the store with his mother. At the store, he sees his bully trying on a frilly dress. The bully sees that the child sees this and the next day they are in school the bully threatens the child if he says anything about the dress. When the child says he wouldn’t say anything because it would not be nice then the bull decides to be ‘kind’ to the younger child. Still though throughout the book the bully still calls the younger child ‘shrimp’. The name calling doesn’t end and seems to be acceptable. 

Third, why did this book not once have the child telling his parents? This is a parental issue I guess. Parents, whatever relationship you choose to have with your child please make sure that your relationship is solid enough that no matter what your child has full confidence and trust in you that they will come to you if someone is bullying them. This is a scary age where I read on the news that children as young as ten are harming or even killing themselves because of bullying and not enough being done. We can do better as a community. 

In the end, this book has great pictures and the pages are short enough to keep attention. But, I believe that this story will lead to bigger discussions between you and your children about how to handle bullying, what was wrong in the story, what the child and adults did wrong in the story. It is a fine tale if you have the time to talk together as a family. 
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