A thoughtful anti-bullying book from the talented author/illustrator Henry Cole!
Eddie the chicken is the meanest kid in class. He may be the smallest, but he is the biggest bully. He calls people names, hides people’s homework, and trips people. No one is safe from his bullying! And when the teachers give him a time out, that just gives him time to think of more mean things to do!
When a new student, Carla the pig, comes to class one day, everyone is prepared for the worst. But does she have a way to stop Eddie’s bullying? She compliments his clothes, invites him to lunch, and is extremely nice to him. Her kindness makes Eddie feel great at first. But then he starts to think about the way he's treated his other classmates, and he feels bad. He realizes it feels good to be nice, so he tries to help her make friends and be a good friend to everyone, any way he could be, any time he could be.
A young bully gets a second chance. Eddie is clearly miserable and cranky, his feathers spiked up on his head and his yellow beak tilted downward. One could almost feel sorry for him if he weren't such a pill. But Eddie's a big bully, physically and socially. He uses mean words-"'You were born in a roach motel!' he sneered at Russell"-and his unkind actions are documented in detail on the endpapers. "He was mean any way he could be, anytime he could be." Frequent timeouts imposed by exasperated teachers just give Eddie more time to think of mean things to do. His classmates-anthropomorphized cartoon animals who play Person-Person-Monkey at recess-hold their breath as Carla, the new student, takes her seat next to Eddie. But Carla has the first word: "'I LOVE your SWEATER,' Carla gasped, feasting her eyes on Eddie." Cole delivers a genuinely funny moment, with Eddie thoroughly nonplussed and unexpectedly redirected. Carla's exuberant overture of friendship soon has Eddie regretting his mean deeds, wishing he had been a better classmate, and, Scrooge-like, deciding to become a model friend and helper. Cole's exaggeratedly comic characters pull off this otherwise pat reversal. Not a single, perfect solution to the complicated problem of bullying but a reminder that there are a few bullies who can actually be disarmed.
– Kirkus Reviews
In <i>Eddie the Bully</i>, everyone knows that Eddie is mean. The children treat him with fear and the teachers are frustrated with him. When a new girl joins the class, she unknowingly offers Eddie her friendship. Eddie quickly realizes that being nice feels good. For children ages four to eight, this book demonstrates that bullies are often angry and afraid, and that sometimes an offer of friendship can change behavior. Illustrations of anthropomorphic animals are very well done and show differences among children without judgment.