Author: Kathryn Apel
Publisher: UQ Press
“This book is about a boy getting bullied every day on the school bus. When I read it I could feel what it’s like to be bullied. I felt like the main character was me. I hope this book teaches kids not to bully each other. The words in Bully on the Bus are so interesting, and the way it’s all in poems draws you in. The shape of the poems makes you think about the meaning. Once I started I had to finish the whole story.” (Miss 8)
Kat is a dear writing friend and colleague of mine. Maybe I cried when reading Bully on the Bus because I know the author – but I suspect it has more to do with her incredible storytelling and poignant touch. (The last sentence on p91 really got me…)
Teachers will love the verse novel format. Yes, verse novel. (See this link for an example of the layout). Rather than being broken into chapters, each section is a poem which stands alone, yet contributes to the narrative. Poems are in free verse, and cleverly shaped to reflect the content. The poetry is easy to read because it’s not too abstract, but at the same time provides an early introduction to poetic devices and figurative language.
The comprehensive teacher’s notes are aligned with the Australian English Curriculum, and well worth downloading if you are an educator. The examples of poetic devices on specific pages will be useful for teachers (although I think metaphor features more heavily than is mentioned here), and I was pleased to see reference even to peritexts such as the dedication page. An excellent resource.
I can’t recommend Bully on the Bus highly enough. As a teacher, a mother and a writer this one gets my tick of approval.
- Lower Primary / Middle Primary classrooms
- Exploring poetic forms (including shape poems)
- Exploring poetic devices (including metaphor, simile and alliteration)
- Family reading
- Bullying theme
* I received a review copy of Bully on the Bus courtesy of UQ Press. No payment was received for this review and all opinions are my own.