cover image What Happens Next

What Happens Next

Susan Hughes, illus. by Carey Sookocheff. Owl Kids, $19.95 (40p) ISBN 978-1-77147-165-7

An unnamed, intellectually curious child with a mop of hair is chased, teased, and ridiculed by a girl referred to as “Bully B.,” who “looks me up and down. Shoves my books. Calls me Weirdo.” Sookocheff illustrates the characters with simple strokes, giving them an indistinct appearance, which hints at the potential for any child to be bullied—or perhaps be a bully. Pale tones are accented by pea green, light blue, and tangerine, signifying various emotional states. At the urging of the child’s mother, the narrator responds to Bully B.’s cruelty with an anecdote about interconnectedness and the universe. Their moment of shared awe and common humanity results in a subtle change: “What’s Different Now: Not everything. But enough.” Hughes’s suggestion that reaching out to bullies can be more effective than standing up to them is a brave and big-hearted one. Ages 4–up. [em](Mar.) [/em]