We had the opportunity to write a review for Schmitt our parenting blog.
Schmitt tells the story of Bart, a little boy who used to love school until “Frank the Tank” started bullying him and his friends. Now, Bart lives in fear each day. The worst part is that each time Frank succeeds in his bullying behavior, he actually grows bigger and his victims grow smaller!! This is an allegory to how kids really feel when they are being bullied each day. Her illustrations are cartoonish and slightly humorous, as she shows Frank growing and Bart shrinking. Bart is terrified, living each day in fear, but he doesn’t stand up to the bully. That is, until he sees Frank bullying his friend. This angers Bart so much that he finally stands up to this bully. And what does he find? Once he stands up to Frank, so do all his friends. And the best part is, Frank starts to shrink and Bart and his friends start to grow! The kids find out that there is strength in numbers and that together, they can show Frank that they will not be victimized.
The story ends with some honest discussion questions that will be sure to get kids talking.
One of the things I loved about this story was that Schmitt described how scared Bart was to stand up to Frank. She really captured how kids feel in this situation and made the story relatable. However, the ending, when the kids rallied around Bart to help him, may not be what happens in real life. Often, one child tries to stand up to a bully, but no one else is brave enough to take a stand.
This story is an excellent stepping stone for teachers and parents with school age kids who want to educate about what bullying behavior is, how it feels to be bullied, and what a group of kids can do to stop it. Schmitt is especially good at writing about emotions in a way that young children will understand, so this the story creates a great platform to talk about how it feels to be left out, insulted and scared of another person at school.
Sarahlynne of merelymothers