The Meanest Birthday Girl
Written by Josh Schneider
Boston: Clarion Books, 2013, Ages 7-9
The book tells the story of how a mean girl, Dana, got everything she wanted for her birthday, including an elephant. The elephant is so much hard work that it takes up all her time and energy then she starts to become bullied by another girl, Gertrude. Later, Dana gives Gertrude the elephant for her birthday.
There is dialogue, and does everything in a logical order with longer sentences. The book is also broken up into chapters to give an overview of what the chunks of the story are about.
The illustrations are very nice, and makes the elephant look fun to have, and also shows very well how stressed out Dana gets from caring for it. Also displays very well the children's attitudes that are reflected in the text.
I feel passing on the elephant is indirect bullying as the kids who have had it know how hard it is, and they pawn it off on the next kid when they are done with it. It does show kids though to have empathy and understanding (with the elephant) and that no matter how mean someone is, they can change their ways and people will still like them and give them presents even if they are mean. I disagree with that method because it is praising bad behavior, when no kids should have brought her gifts if she was mean to them, and have them explain why. I wish the book would go into more detail about why the children changed their attitude when given the elephant.
Reviewed by SC