For tonight’s bedtime story T picked out Leave Me Alone by Kes Gray and Lee Wildish.
A young boy sits alone in a field. Over the course of the book he is approached by a number of animals, including a fly, robin, cat and cow. With each new animals arrival, the boy utters the same line – “Leave me alone.” Eventually, a pig arrives and suggests the boy needs to talk about his problems and with that the floodgates open.
The boy reveals that he is being bullied and teased by a giant, heartbreakingly describing the bully as blocking the sun and casting a shadow over him. As he finishes explaining what is making him so sad, the ground begins to shake as the giant approaches. But now the boy has friends, eight of them in fact, and they decide that it is time to stand up to the bully. Get yourself a copy of the book to find out how that goes.
This is the second book in quick succession that we have read by this pairing and again they do a great job of tackling difficult subject matter head on! The topic is dealt with sensitively and powerfully, with the rhyme and use of a repeated phrase conveying sadness and frustration brilliantly. The illustrations are a perfect match for the text, capturing raw emotion and conveying clearly the shadow that a bully can cast and how difficult it can seem to stand up to this behaviour.
This is one probably best read with slightly older children, 4 and up. There is also clearly a lot of scope for using this one in the classroom. T understood the emotion well and told me on finishing, “that is really sad and the giant is terrible. Even if you are angry you should be kind.” We spent some time discussing the themes in this one before T had a go reading on his own…
Worth a purchase for home and the classroom. You can get a copy here.