Foxanna and Wolverina are the
principals of two elementary schools that are chosen to compete in a
contest. Although the two principals are supposed to be best friends,
they treat each other as enemies. Foxanna and Wolverina are bullies who
use underhanded tactics to try to sabotage each other. This
well-intentioned story demonstrates the harmful effects of all kinds of
bullying. The authors thoughtfully use examples of multiple forms of
bullying, including social exclusion, verbal harassment, and physical
attacks. These hurtful incidents can spark a conversation among young
readers about the importance of empathy, kindness, and compassion.
Although the story is generally nicely paced, the ending leaves something to be desired. When the day of the competition finally arrives, the undesirable behaviors of the two principals continue. The situation comes to a head and the school superintendent finally sits the two rivals down for a talk about how harmful bullying truly is. Unfortunately, there is a missed opportunity to capitalize on this discussion by offering solutions to young audiences. The story could have benefited from introducing some talking points about proactive solutions for bystanders, victims, and bullies themselves. That said, this picture book does introduce the topic of bullying well and sets the stage for further discussions between parent and child.
Overall, the story is well-written; the authors clearly put plenty of effort into making the characters and the subject matter relatable to today’s youngest generation. There are some modern touches to the subject matter that help make the story more relevant for a tech-savvy generation, although a thoughtful reader might be slightly puzzled by the underdeveloped roles of the artificially intelligent robots.