After my previous review of two Howard B. Wigglebottom books, the author, Howard Binkow, was incredibly generous enough to send me the rest of the books in the series. I’ll be reviewing them over the next few weeks. I absolutely adore this series for children, every book has an important lesson presented in a way to Jacob can completely relate to.
In Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns About Bullies, the title rabbit deals with the rather nasty Snorton twins. Every day, they torment Howard in a new way. They push him down, steal his lunch, take his jacket, and basically make his life miserable at school. Howard knows that he should tell his teacher, but he’s worried about being labeled a “tattler,” so he keeps trying to find new ways to thwart the bullies. He imagines himself in an invisibility cloak, wears special shoes that make him run faster, and even a special jacket that transforms him into a robot, but no matter what Howard tries, the Snorton twins still find a way to bully him.
Finally, Howard realizes that there is only one way to stop them- he has to tell his teacher. Once he does, the Snorton twins get in trouble and Howard feels much safer. Throughout the story, Howard keeps hearing the words “be brave, be bold, a teacher must be told” in his head, urging him to do what must be done, even if it’s scary. This sends the message to kids that even though it may be intimidating to tell the teacher about a bully, it’s still the right thing to do, and doing so makes them brave and bold.
Bullying is such a major issue in schools today, and it’s starting as early as Kindergarten. In many cases, victims are told that they better not say anything to anyone, or their punishment will be severe. Children are often afraid to go to a teacher or trusted adult because they don’t want to be seen as a snitch, or they fear the repercussions. This pattern allows bullies to keep the upper hand. If more children felt comfortable talking to a grown-up about the issue, bullies would have less control. Books like Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns About Bullies are important because they give children a relatable example of how speaking up has a happy ending.
We Do Listen Foundation
The Howard B. Wigglebottom books are put out by the We Do Listen Foundation, a dedicated group of writers, teachers, and illustrators who have come together to provide resources that help children learn important lessons and life skills. I highly recommend visiting the site. You can see watch all of the Howard B. Wigglebottom stories as animated books, print out worksheets and posters, listen to songs from the stories, and much more. It is an excellent resource for parents and it’s completely free. If you decide you would like to purchase a hardcover copy of the books, they are deeply discounted in the site’s shop.