New Book Review in MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW, James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief, MBR Bookwatch: November, 2016


MBR Bookwatch: November, 2016 - Volume 15, Number 11

Lorraine’s Bookshelf

 Nancy Lorraine Senior Reviewer


Case Two: Big Bully Holly Howler, Elana Ashley, PhD, author/illustrator, http://drelanaashley.com/index, Archway Publishing, 1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403, 9781480819566, $16.95, www.amazon.com

"Big Bully Holly Howler" is Case Two in the Splunkunio Splunkey Detective and Peacemaker series. Illustrated with colorful photos of fantastic puppet figures of all the story's characters, "Big Bully Holly Howler" tells a common story of schoolyard bullying behavior made universal by the attractive animal puppet figures.

Ellie Elephant was upset by mean, bullying behavior of a classmate, Holly Howler, better known as Big Bully Holly Howler. She called on her magical detective/peacemaker friend, Splunkey to help. Splunkey suggests that Ellie call on her friend Eli Elephant to help with the problem. After listening to Ellie's report of several situations in which Holly displayed mean or bullying behavior, Splunkey made some suggestions, advising Ellie to use clues both seen and unseen, heard and unheard, to solve problems.  He also encouraged Ellie to think about how Holly felt, and whether she had any friends or not.

Next day, Eli helped Ellie by saying: "Just be yourself - kind and funny...Act with Holly the way you want her to act with you." Ellie proceeded to surprise Holly and everyone else by making some kind, friendly remarks and gestures that helped Holly feel accepted by the group. Amazingly, Holly surprised Ellie by apologizing for her behavior in front of Mrs. Bea and the class. Then Ellie and Holly hugged each other.

On the way home from school, Eli asked Ellie how her day had gone, and she reported, "It was amazing!"

"Big Bully Holly Howler" ends with questions for teachers and parents to discuss with children, plus the final reminder from Splunkey: "Always remember: To make a friend - you need to be a friend!" This inspiring, charming story takes its place in the innovative series for elementary students, featuring creative use of detective and peacemaker skills to solve interpersonal problems.

Also highly recommended is the same title in Spanish and English: Caso segundo: La gran abusiva Holly Howler (9781480822184, sc, $16.95), written and illustrated by Elana Ashley, PhD.