Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Marlene, Marlene, Queen of the Mean

Marlene, Marlene, Queen of the Mean

Jane Lynch, Lara Embry, A. E. Mikesell
Illustrator:  Tricia Tusa 
Picture Book
For ages 4 to 6
Random House, 2014   ISBN: 978-0385379083

Marlene is the kind of girl who spends her time “seeking glory” by making the other children in her community miserable. Marlene is “the queen of mean” and rules over the playground, the sidewalk and the school by being “quite cruel.”

Though she is not a big child, Marlene seems huge because the “the shadow / she cast / was IMMENSE.” She likes to stand on a chair and glare at everyone, completely subduing and terrifying the children she pushes around. With pinches, kicks, flicks and other acts of cruelty she makes everyone’s life hard until one day when Big Freddy decides that enough is enough.

Being at the mercy of a bully is something many children are all too familiar with. What many people don’t realize is that many bullies are essentially insecure and when someone stands up to them, they crumble. With wonderful verse and artwork, this picture book addresses a painful issue with sensitivity and touches of humor. Children will cheer on Marlene’s victims, and,  when she starts her journey down a different road from the one she was on, then they will cheer on Marlene.