Book Review: You’re mean lily jean

Written by Frieda Wishinsky + Illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton

Tackles: Bullying 

Age Range: 4-8 years 

Genre: Picture Book

This book tells the story of a little girl named Carly who always played with her big sister, Sandy. That is, until Lily Jean moved in next door. Lily Jean only wanted to play with Sandy, and if Carly was allowed to play, Lily Jean was mean to her. Carly is tired of being bossed around and hides Lily Jeans shoe to get back at her. Carly and Sandy don’t want to play with her anymore, and Lily Jean is hurt. She agrees to be nice, and the girls all play together. 

This book tackles bullying, an important and common topic that children (sadly) have to deal with on a regular basis. However, I feel like it discusses bullying in a sort of vague, pretty basic way. Bullying is a huge topic and there are so many areas to discuss, but this book focuses on a case of bullying, doing something mean to get back at a bully, bullying them back, making up and becoming friends. While these are important topics under the umbrella of bullying, they are very generally talked about and there is not even an apology from Lily Jean. Also, is seeking revenge a solution that we want to encourage? Yes, it does happen, but we need to teach children better ways to cope. Nobody tells an adult, tells the bully how they feel, and again, not even an apology from Lily Jean. 

The pictures in this story are doodle-y and cute, and fit the story well. The story is clear and entertaining, sure, but it doesn’t hit all of the marks for me when it comes to talking about bullying. I can see this book being good to get the conversation started, but I wouldn’t recommend it on its own. However, as my wife pointed out as we argued over this book, it does have an underlying story line that emphasizes the importance of family when Sandy sticks up for her sister. Which is important, and gets points from me. 

5 out of 10 red shoes 

Buy it here.

Read it free here.

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