Tessa and the Tease

Children - Social Issues
32 Pages
Reviewed on 04/06/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Lois J Wickstrom for Readers' Favorite

Tessa liked school until Luke started teasing her about being short. Teasing is a type of bullying that most children experience and most children wish they could make it stop. This book presents an interesting approach to figuring out how to stop the teasing and even become friends with the bully. I particularly like the fact that Tess figures out her solution all by herself – rather than an adult figure telling her what to do. Her problem-solving makes her victory at the end so much sweeter, and gives the reader the hope that maybe this technique will work for them too. Tessa and the Tease by Amy Syd Babcock, illustrated by Julie Murphy, is a roadmap to a happier playground experience.

The market seems filled with books about bullying. Most of them are about standing up for yourself, telling an adult, and if you aren’t the one being victimized, standing up for the child who is. This book takes a different approach. In my opinion, this is a much more mature perspective and therefore won’t work all the time with every child. But when it does work, it is a great solution as it enables both the bully and the bullied to see each other as people who have lives outside the situation. Both are human and are capable of thinking outside the dynamic. This book shows a path. Tessa and the Tease by Amy Syd Babcock has my recommendation for discussion in classrooms and households, or wherever bullying occurs.

Jamie Michele

Tessa and the Tease, written by Amy Syd Babcock and illustrated by Julie Murphy, is a children's book about a young girl who is being bullied. Tessa is the first-person narrator and starts by telling the reader that she loves school and science. She has really good friends she enjoys playing with at recess until a classmate named Luke starts to bully her. Luke makes fun of Tessa, calling her names like “Shrimpo,” “Peanut,” and “Pipsqueak” and nobody helps her. Tessa demands Luke stops his bullying when he closes the library door in her face. She tries to see the best in Luke by using a rainbow color system.

“Does he think I’m INVISIBLE?” This is a question many kids ask when they are being bullied. In Tessa and the Tease, Tessa asks this of herself when Luke is laughing and alleges that he did not see her. Tessa is invisible to everyone else too because she is totally alone and gets no help. I think children who feel like this will find the story comforting. Author Amy Syd Babcock teaches us a new way to view kids who hurt other children. Tessa uses the beauty of a rainbow and draws Luke with an eye for his “colors” that she likes about him. Illustrator Julie Murphy is a super-talented artist and in an era where digital computer art is overtaking traditional hand-crafted illustrations, Murphy sketches Tessa, Luke, and their world in what looks like pencil and soft shading. Recommended.