Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

You're Mean, Lily Jean!

You're Mean, Lily Jean!

Frieda Wishinsky
Illustrator:  Kady MacDonald Denton 
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Albert Whitman & Company, 2011   ISBN: 978-0807594766

Carly and her big sister Sandy play together all the time. They have wonderful adventures as they pretend to be dragons, knight, explorers, pirates, mountain climbers, and astronauts. Then one day Lily Jean moves in next door, and everything changes.

Lily Jean suggests that she and Sandy should play house. Not surprisingly, Carly wants to play too, but Lily Jean says “No.” The only way Carly can play house is if she agrees to be the baby, which she consents to do, even though she does not really want to crawl around on her hands and knees.

The next day Lily Jean comes over and she suggests that she and Sandy should play cowgirls. When Carly asks if she can play too, Lily Jean tells her that she can be the cow. Sandy suggests that they should have three cowgirls in their game, but Lily Jean insists that three cowgirls “are too many.” Reluctantly Carly plays the part of the cow, mooing and eating grass. Is she always going to have the crummy parts in their games? How long should she put up with “mean” Lily Jean and her mean ways?

Wherever you go, you are going to find children like Lily Jean who are bossy and who like to be mean. They like to make other children feel small and left out, and it is not easy to know how to deal with them. Should one accept their demands or say “No.”

With sensitivity and care, Frieda Wishinsky shows children how to deal with the Lily Jeans of this world. As they read the story, they will discover that there is even a way to turn a bully into a friend.