Don’t Call Me Fuzzybutt! by Robin Newman

Don’t Call Me Fuzzybutt!

Robin Newman, Author

Susan Batori, Illustrator

Sleeping Bear Press, Fiction, Mar. 15, 2021

Suitable for ages: 5-8

Themes: Bear, Woodpecker, Forest animals, Interpersonal relationships, Name-calling, Gossip, Humor

Opening: “Bear needed a lot of sleep. Two hundred and forty-three and a half days, to be precise. Anything less and he turned grizzly.”

Publisher’s Synopsis:

Bear is tired. The weather is getting cool and he’s ready for a nice long nap–he’s got earmuffs and a brand-new door to keep out the noise, plus a pair of fluffy bunny slippers. Meanwhile, real estate mogul Woodpecker finds his recent homes…missing. And he follows the trail of debris right to Bear’s new front door. When he “tap tap taps” to talk to Bear about it, the two engage in a feisty exchange of name-calling and gossip with the rest of their forest neighbors. Can they patch it up–literally–before Bear loses too much sleep?

Why I like this book:

Robin Newman’s Don’t Call Me Fuzzybutt!” is an irresistibly funny picture book.  Rich with Newman’s hilarious text and Susan Batori’s lively and expressive illustrations, Bear’s story shows children how hurtful name-calling can be and how important it is to compromise and apologize. Woodpecker’s exuberance plays off Bear’s grumpiness.  At the height of their confrontation, large illustrations brilliantly show Bear and Woodpecker’s anger — nose to beak!  The humor is spot-on and children will ROAR with laughter!

Newman has a distinct and clever voice as an author. She uses kid-pleasing sounds (GROWL SNARL, ROAR, PECK, PEST), repetition, witty wordplay and fun reiterations of butt.  Newman hit a home run with Don’t Call Me Fuzzybutt!  It’s her best picture book yet! Don’t Call Me Fuzzybutt! is an entertaining read-aloud for home or in the classroom. Make sure you watch the trailer below!

Resources: Engage children in a discussion about name-calling, using Bear and Woodpecker as examples. Ask kids if they’ve  ever called someone a name? Have they ever been called a name? How did it make them feel — mad, hurt, bullied, or surprised? Help children make a list of what they can do to stop name-calling. Encourage kids to draw a picture of their favorite scene in Don’t Call Me Fuzzybutt!

Robin Newman was raised in New York City and Paris where she was a practicing attorney and legal editor, but she now prefers to write about witches, mice, pigs, peacocks, bears and woodpeckers. She is the author of the popular chapter books Griswold and Wilcox Mystery series, and picture books No Peacocks! and Hilde Bitterpickles Needs Her Sleep. She lives in New York with her husband, son, goldfish, and two spoiled English Cocker Spaniels, and one French Bulldog. Visit her at her website.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

*Review copy provided by the author is exchange for a review.

Trouble Talk

Trouble Talk102508207Trouble Talk

Trudy Ludwig, author

Mikela Prevost, illustrator

Random House, 2008

Suitable for:  Ages 7-9

Themes: Gossip, Lies, Rumors, Relational Aggression, Trust

Opening/Brief Synopsis:  “I know a girl who has a really big mouth.  Her name is Bailey.  Big Mouth Bailey.  She doesn’t know I’ve called  her that because I’ve never said it out loud.  But that’s what I think.”  Maya and Bailey are friends until they attend a sleepover at Keisha’s house and Bailey makes a hurtful and embarrassing comment to Keisha.  Over weeks Maya observes Bailey spreading rumors, interfering and causing trouble for many other children.  Things get out of hand when Bailey spreads a false rumor that Maya’s parents are getting a divorce.  Maya is hurt and talks with her school counselor.   As Maya learns first hand, spreading rumors, saying hurtful things and sharing someone’s private information only leads to trouble.

Why I like this book:  Trudy Ludwig has written an important book that older elementary kids will easily relate to.  Mikela Prevost’s colorful  illustrations show a lot of emotion, expression and enhance the story.  Gossiping and spreading rumors is a big problem among kids.  Although the ending is optimistic, Maya isn’t sure she will be able to trust Bailey.  I was pleased that Ludwig shows that Bailey’s actions has consequences, and she has to learn how to respect others.  I especially like her use of words “trouble talk” and “‘friendship-tug-of-war.”  Kids get stuck in the middle with bullying or relational aggression.  I highly recommend this book to teachers, school counselors and parents.

Resources:  There is a wonderful Forward in the beginning of the book from a psychologist.  And, there is an Author’s Note, Questions for Discussion and more resources at the end.  There is plenty of information for a classroom discussion.  Visit Trudy Ludwig at her website.  She has recently written  a Wonder Lessons Guide for Random House about bullying.  A great tool for teachers and parents to use during National Bullying Prevention Month.  You may also want to check out the National Bullying Prevention Center.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book.  To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.