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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Change is never easy. When Mattie Boombalatty, her parents, and Grandaddy move to the city so her father can work, Mattie has to attend a new school. Making friends isn’t easy for Mattie. The girls at the new school bully her relentlessly, calling her all kinds of mean things. Mattie is so sad that when visited by the Blue Fairy who wants to grant her a wish of riches and power, all Mattie wishes is for the mean girls to no longer be mean. The Blue Fairy gets things wrong, changing all the bullies at Mattie’s school into cherry tarts. It’s a spell that's difficult to reverse, but that’s all Mattie wants as she realizes she can’t change the world by turning mean herself; she just has to learn how to live in it the way it is.
Wayne Gerard Trotman’s picture book story, Mattie Boombalatty: Wayne Gerard Trotman’s Rhyming Stories, is a clever way to teach young people not only that bullying hurts, but also that it’s important to remain oneself, in spite of the bullying. The story is told in rhyming verse, beginning and ending with an introduction to the main characters, the Boombalatty family: “In a town named Bascini/ Lived Family Boombalatty:/ Granddaddy Boombalatty/ Daddy Boombalatty/ Mummy Boombalatty/ And Mattie Boombalatty.” There are lots of children’s stories that address bullying, but this one is unique as it turns the issue around and makes the bullied person into a stronger, better person by dealing with the issue through acceptance, even when others don’t accept her. A powerful message. Cleverly told, fun to read, and beautifully illustrated.