Ty the Bull: Brenda Perlin, Rex Baughman and K.D. Emerson
Tyrannosaurus Rex was a large, carnivorous dinosaur that walked on two legs. It was considered the most dangerous meat-eating dinosaur and received its name from the Greek words tyrant and lizard. Its name also means tyrant lizard. T-Rex lived throughout what is now referred to as North America. T-Rex was wider than other tyrannosaurus. Dangerous, feared and definitely not a dino you want to mess with imagine having your father say that you were named after this amazing dinosaur. Ty is our narrator in this story as he introduces himself to readers and explains why he’s telling his story. Stubborn at times, not wanting to go to bed he often faced off with his parents. Not really feeling like a huge and ferocious dinosaur or any kind of bull we learn more about him as we enter his school, meet some of the students there and understand why he feels his name and he is the best of many jokes. Bullying is not uncommon in schools and trying to shy away or stay away from bullies and their taunting often not that simple.
Ty was made fun of by the kids in his school and it appears that the teachers turned a blind eye to what was happening. Called Tyson Chicken or even worse, kids would make fun of him for his appearance, the way he looks and just because they felt they could pick on him. At parties kids would insult him just because they felt like it and not because of any other reason. Leaving parties and not feeling accepted Ty often felt alone.
His parents are divorced and his mother is too busy to focus on anything but her boyfriend and herself. His father seems MIA at this time. Wanting to be just like him and hoping to somehow reconnect with him would make the basis for another story written by Brenda and these two young authors.
How does he manage to fight off the kids who pick on him for the way he dresses, looks, and breathes or anything about him just to be mean? The authors include great illustrations such as the one of the special dog that Ty really misses and the only one that accepted him for him.
Kids are mean and although he tries to avoid confrontation poor Ty never wins. But, when recess is over and Gabe decides to make sure that he suffers what happens is wrong and the end result lets readers know that both teachers and principals need to hear both sides of a story. They need to open their eyes and see what really happened and not believing everything they hear. As an educator, dean and reading staff developer I would have definitely handled the situation between Ty and Gabe quite differently. This is where the principal calls his mom because in order to defend himself he put Gabe in a headlock but poor Ty is guilty just by admitting the truth.
Grounded, feeling dejected and given a punishment by the school Gabe suffers it out for a week but the worst is yet to come. Reflecting back on his parents and wanting to rid himself of his anger he goes to the skate park and bumps into someone. Angry and upset it takes him a while to focus and hear what this man named Peacock is trying to tell him. Fighting back is fine but not using your fits but your words might make the point even stronger. Find out what Peacock teaches him about balance and how he learns to keep his opponents off balance. Find out what Shakespeare has to do with balance and the conversation and what he learns about himself in the process as he goes back to the Skate Park and replays the party. Bumping into Peacock they begin to again and wait until you hear what happens when the bullies try to get his goat you might say in school.
Challenges were given, his tree overtaken but what Ty does will surprise not only readers but just maybe Gabe too. Find out if he stands up for himself. Find out how powerful words are that often speak louder than actions in this case. Will Ty stay the victim or will he finally come out the victor? Does anyone really win when bullies are concerned? This school needs a peer mediation program and perhaps Ty can represent the students and help develop some rules including rewards and consequences to work out differences. Bullying is wrong, accepting people for who they are is not always the case and rising above insults is an important lesson learned in this short but realistic story.
A great story that is told by Ty in the first person and hopefully just the first of a series of books by these authors. This book is going to be featured in MJ 5 my magazine along with the Bios of the three authors and their pictures. T-Rex: Watch Out Ty is going to give you a run for your meat!
Fran Lewis: Reviewer