Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Very BIG Bunny (Marisabina Russo)

Summary of A Very BIG Bunny
Amelia is a bunny, a very big bunny.  Lovingly, her parents attempt to encourage her about her size by pointing out that she stands out in a crowd and that she is the star of the show.  Amelia does not want either of those things though.  She just wants to be a bunny that fits in with her peers.  At school, she is the biggest student in the class.   Her classmates tell her she is too tall for jump rope, her feet are too big for hopscotch, and her weight is too heavy for the seesaw.   Standing by the fence at recess and walking home alone after school, she finds creative ways to amuse herself.  She is lonely though. 

A new bunny, a very small bunny, joins the class.  Her name is Susannah.  Classmates call her pip-squeak, peanut, and shrimp.  They claim she is too small for everything.  Susannah walks over to Amelia at the fence and attempts to make friends with her.   Caught up in her own lonely world, she ignores her.  Each day, Susannah works to befriend Amelia, despite her rebuffs.   Then, Susannah lures her in with an original idea for picture day that helps both girls learn to accept their differences and each other.  Susannah realizes that standing out in the crowd can be a positive experience. 

I like A Very BIG Bunny because it illustrates common childhood insecurities, such as being too big, too small, or too _____ from peers.  Many students experience bullying, isolation, and loneliness as a result of their differences.  Author Marisabina Russo realistically depicts the way children deal in diverse ways with bullying and their reluctance to trust others.  There is also a credible ending. The girls’ peer problems are not magically solved, but they are moving in a positive direction by embracing their individuality and growing in their friendship together.  Children ages 4-8 will enjoy this story and illustrations. 

Teaching Opportunities:
  • Art—Create unique tiaras or necklaces (girls) or hats and ties (boys)
  • Friendship—Brainstorm qualities of a good friend and discuss how to be one
  • Self-Worth—Think up ways students can feel good about themselves 
  • Comparison—Compare and Contrast the two girls on areas like why they are bullied, how they cope with it, and what character qualities they possess 
  • Bullying—Read other stories on bullying and teach about the signs and solutions for it

For other books on bullying, click here. 

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