Mean Girl Makes the Scene: Marlene, Marlene, Queen of Mean by Jane Lynch
You're a mean one, Miss Marlene!
And Marlene glories in it. She may look innocuous, with her big pink hair bow and patent leather Mary Janes, but she knows how to put the moves on her classmates.
Marlene is the Grinch of the playground, the scourge of the school.
MARLENE, MARLENE, THE QUEEN OF MEAN,
WAS KNOWN FOR BEING QUITE CRUEL.
She's got the bully scowl down pat, and she's not above a well-placed kick, pinch, or shove to reinforce her power. She evens takes joy in blocking desperate kids from the bathroom.
What she needs is a takedown, and for that there's Big Freddie, who rides to the rescue to do what none of the others has dared.
"SHE'S NOT VERY TALL,
NOT REALLY AT ALL.
WE CRINGE AND WE COWER,
AND GIVE HER OUR POWER."
And Freddie is right. Suddenly Mean Marlene is not seen as a queen of anything. Freddy's got their back, and all the kids see that together they can handle anything Marlene can do. Right away, Marlene sees the point of changing her ways--fast.
There's one mean girl who will bully no more, in Jane Lynch's Marlene, Marlene, Queen of Mean (Random House, 2014). If Marlene's abdication seems a bit facile, Lynch does offer the sometime truism that bullies are mostly bluff, using the old Wizard of Oz-behind-the-curtain device, but award-winning artist Tricia Tusa's clever illustrations do most of the heavy lifting in this story to show where the real power resides over this beribboned bully.
For more insight into the mean girl phenomenon, pair this one with Jane O'Connor's insightful Fancy Nancy and the Mean Girl (I Can Read Book 1) (Harper, 2011) (see review here).