A doggie bully is turned into a friend in Patricia Brill’s fun and functional picture book No Treats for Bullies!
The latest in Brill’s Dog Tales Collection, No Treats for Bullies! features a cast of dog characters, including some that will be familiar to readers of her other books. In this story, Porsche Bella, one of those recurring characters, doesn’t want to join her brother Turbo at the dog park because of a bully who’s teasing her. Good advice comes almost immediately as Turbo says, “If you are ever scared or sad, angry or mad, you can always come and talk to me. [..] Together we can solve any problem.”
Turbo rallies the other dogs at the park to stand up to the bully, revealing that he, too, was once a bully. Meanwhile, Porsche Bella overcomes her fear and returns to the dog park, only to find the bully stuck in a log. She and the other dogs take the higher moral ground and decide to help him, and the bully seizes the opportunity to turn over a new leaf.
Brill addresses all the important lessons regarding bullying: the victim not being at fault, the bully’s motivations, and most importantly, how to best handle a bullying situation. Indeed,
the author packs a lot into her book, including a poem at the end, but the casting of Turbo as a one-time bully allows her to tell the story convincingly through the characters, rather than have them serve as mere figureheads, spouting advice that many kids might hear at school and elsewhere.
The illustrations are consistent throughout, with some nice backgrounds for the park scenes. There’s some minor visual repetition early in the book, when Turbo and Porsche Bella are talking at home, but the action, and the visual variety, pick up quickly.
As an anti-bullying book, No Treats for Bullies! hits all the marks and makes a successful addition to Brill’s line of self-improvement picture books.