By Chris Wilson
No one wants to play with Cousin Bo. He breaks all the toys, takes things, makes mean faces and is not nice. When Benny and Penny find out Bo is coming over, they try to hide all their toys except Penny’s monkey doll. Bo starts right in, taking a toy they didn’t hide and hitting Benny with it. He sticks his tongue out and then takes their treasure map. Half the day is spent dealing with Bo’s monkeyshines.
Truth be told, Bo is a bully. At the very least, he is a bully-in-training. Either way, he constantly steals, hits, destroys things, and acts mean toward other kids. Finally, Bo runs away to play with other kids and gets stuck in a hole. Always compassionate, Benny and Penny assist him, which leads to much better play for the rest of the day.
It’s a cute early childhood introduction to bullying and problem solving where children resolve their own issues. Are they friends in the end? For the day, it appears so. Will Bo continue his behaviors next time or has he changed? Only time will tell, but I suspect he’s not changed so much. Next time Benny and Penny may need to enlist the help of adults. Or not. Hopefully not.
BENNY AND PENNY is a stellar series of life lessons for the very young. Geoffrey Hayes continues to tell stories that are important for young children to experience in order to connect with the difficulties of life in ways young children can grasp. It’s why his books continue to delight children and parents and why B&P wins awards and kudos.
Chris’ Rating: Emergent reader and older
Publisher’s Rating: Ages 4 and older
IN THE CLASSROOM
THE TOY BREAKER is quintessential social interaction and problem solving strategies for early childhood students. It speaks their language and understands their interests. Not only is it a top notch read-aloud in the pre-K to grade 1 classroom, but also a safe and appropriate resource for school counselors who want to introduce bullying prevention in early grades.
Lesson plans are available on the B&P website.
Students can create their own BENNY AND PENNY cartoons on the website.
Visit the B&P blog.
Author & Illustrator: Geoffrey Hayes
Publisher: Toon Books
Color: Full color
Lexile Level: BR
Guided Reading Level: H