Back to School: Ginny Louise and the School Showdown by Tammi Sauer
Ginny Louise may be a little hedgehog, but her personality is not the least bit prickly. Her credo for troublemakers is simple.
Kill 'em with kindness!
But school brings Ginny Lou a challenge to her modus operandi.
THE TRUMAN ELEMENTARY TROUBLEMAKERS WERE A BAD BUNCH.
ESPECIALLY THESE THREE--CAP'N CATASTROPHE, DESTRUCTO DUDE, AND MAKE-MY-DAY MAY.
The terrible trio are a royal pain to their teachers. They advocate ignoring homework, coming to school late, sailing paper airplanes, and shooting spitballs, and they just keep getting worse.
Ginny Louise tries the Sunny Side of the Street tactic:
"HI, EVERYBODY! MY NAME IS GINNY LOU!"
MAKE-MY-DAY MAY HAD ONLY ONE THING TO SAY."YOU'RE GONNA PAY!"
But Ginny Louise assumes the best:
"I'D LOVE TO STAY! THANKS, NEW BEST FRIEND!"
Make-My-Day May is rendered speechless by Ginny Lou's friendly response. So the other two bullies take a turn trying to insult Ginny. Destructo Dude declares her reply is as appealing as cooties on a cape.
"YOUR SWEETNESS MAKE ME SICK!" GRUMPS CAP'N CATASTROPHE.
But Ginny Louise persists in her Pollyanna practices, seemingly "misunderstanding" every threat. At last Make-My-Day May draws her cap gun and calls for a showdown. Ginny Lou pulls out a violin and stomps out the downbeat to a hoedown. Even the Truman Troublemakers are soon sashaying with their classmates.
Killing 'em with kindness works in Tammi Sauer's latest, Ginny Louise and the School Showdown (Hyperion Books, 2015). Perhaps the adage "A soft answer turns away wrath," can sometimes work, especially if the outlaws feel like outcasts. Veteran artist Lynn Munsinger, a master of portraying the emotions of young anthropomorphized animals, comes up with some delightful illustrations which slyly poke great fun at the blustering bullies, pretty much as she did in her Caldecott-winning Hooway for Wodney Wat. Read these two together for some prescriptions for reforming primary grade bullies.