Bad Astrid ($15.99, Random House, Ages 3-7) by Eileen Brennan is a charming book for young readers about an age old problem – bullying.
Astrid is a bad girl dog who wreaks havoc when she moves into a new neighborhood. The story is told by another child dog (that looks a bit like a beagle) who finds herself in Astrid’s destructive path. Astrid destroys gardens, sprays water on chalk drawings and is just all around grumpy, nasty and mean. One day the beagle makes a great big Eiffel Tower out of Popsicle sticks, but Astrid crashes into it with her bike. Naturally the beagle’s first reaction is anger, but soon she is able to see Astrid for who she really is. What she does will warm your child’s heart.
The book is written in rhyming prose and is rather catchy and cute. I love the cartoon-like illustrations by Regan Dunnick as they really capture the emotions of the dogs. It’s the message of this book that makes it most special – behind every trouble maker is an individual with some good qualities too. Reading this terrific book is a great way to start a conversation with your child about being bullied and about keeping an open mind to help find out the truth about another in need.
– Reviewed by Debbie Glade