Bully the bullfrog lives in a pond full of lilies. The flowers are beautiful, fragrant, and enjoyed by the many other creatures that also inhabit the pond. The pond is a very pleasant place to live. Or it should be. Instead, Bully decides that only he should be able to enjoy the beautiful lilies. He demands that the other inhabitants of the pond leave. And once Bully has the flowers to himself, his selfish behavior almost destroys them. Can anyone stop Bully and his bullying ways? As it turns out, the answer is YES! Using humor and whimsy, author-illustrator Jennifer Sattler masterfully shows young readers that standing up together can make all the difference in the world.

Format List Price Your Price Qty
$16.99 $16.99
$28.99 $28.99
Interest Level Kindergarten - Grade 2
Reading Level Grade 1
Dewey [E]
Lexile 460L
ATOS Reading Level 1.9
Guided Reading Level H
Language English
Publisher Sleeping Bear Press
Available Formats Hardcover (9781585364169), PDF (9781534126381), Hosted ebook (9781534126510)
Copyright 2018
Number of Pages 32
Dimensions 10 x 10
Graphics Full-color illustrations

School Library Journal - Bully

Life is pretty good for a bullfrog named Bully. He lives in a beautiful pond that is filled with fragrant water lilies. Some of the insects living in the pond find the taste of the flowers simply delicious and others enjoy their magnificent scent. Unfortunately, Bully wants the lilies all for himself. Nothing can sway his attitude—no matter how hard the others try to plead their case. He has no problem telling the snails and dragonflies to leave the lilies alone and then kicks them out of the pond. Once the insects and creatures have left, selfish Bully begins to eat as many lilies as he wants. He makes himself a lily crown and uses the precious flowers as a mattress. He is such a glutton that in the end there is only one lily left. The former inhabitants of the pond must do something to make things better—and they do. This story is a great way to emphasize many important messages to young children. One essential lesson is a little kindness can go a long way. The illustrations in this book are captivating. Bully is definitely large and in charge of the pond. His physical size dominates the page. Even though he is selfish, some of Bully’s antics and expressions are entertaining. The text is minimal but the pictures speak volumes. VERDICT A good read-aloud choice to reinforce lessons about kindness, perfect for one-on-one or group sharing.

Booklist - Bully

Bully the bullfrog lives in a lovely lily pond, which he is unwilling to share with anyone else. To that end, he orders a series of insects off the pond: a snail who wants to taste the lilies; a dragonfly who wants to smell them; and a bee who wants to tickle them. Blissfully alone, Bully feasts on the flowers, weaves blooms into a crown, and piles petals into a bed until one lily remains. The text and the watercolor illustrations combine to conjure up the sensory beauty of the pond and its delicate ecosystem, as well as Bully’s destructive behavior. The climax comes when the banished bugs return en masse in a wonderful two-page spread, where they chase off a very worried-looking Bully. With the insects’ return, the pond revives, and Bully must get used to muddy new digs away from friends and flowers. “A Note about Kindness” at the book’s end emphasizes that practicing kindness is easy and offers tips for spreading it around. Comical and inspiring.

Kirkus Review - Bully

A self-centered and egotistical bullfrog refuses to share the beauty of the pond ecosystem, ultimately leaving him in a muddy mess.
Sitting amid the tasty, beautifully scented lilies, Bully chases away the snail, the dragonfly, the bee, and “even the smallest fly,” declaring, “Those delicious, marvelous-smelling, tender lilies are MINE! Everybody out!” Now alone, he indulges in using and abusing the lilies by fashioning them into a crown, eating them until his tummy hurts, and making a new bed of lilies each night. When there is but one lily remaining, Bully guards it by sitting on it. The bee then leads her fellow evictees to take action, forming a large and intimidating squadron of bees, dragonflies, snails, and flies and successfully chasing Bully off the last lily pad and out of the pond. With the return of all the pollinators, the pond’s natural splendor is revived. Unfazed by the consequences of his behavior, Bully must now enjoy all the pleasures of sitting in a pile of gooey mud. “ ‘Humph,’ Bully croaked. ‘All mine.’ ” Sattler’s fable provides a model for how a sharing and caring community will win against a selfish bully’s ugly influence. Expressive graphite-and-watercolor illustrations reflect both the bullfrog’s emotional and environmental impacts on the pond and its inhabitants and the ultimate benevolent message of kindness. A final note about ways to practice acts of kindness completes the concept.
Truly, a tale for our times.

Publishers Weekly - Bully

Bully is a bullfrog, but in Sattler’s (Pig Kahuna) watercolor-and-pencil drawings, he resembles a slightly less ugly version of Jabba the Hutt. Huge, squat, sickly green, and scowling, he chases away all the small, appropriately bug-eyed critters, all of whom should be able to enjoy the lily pond with him. According to Bully, everything lily is “MINE”—even the lilies’ scent: “Their smell is most marvelous. Marvelous and MINE,” he huffs to a pink dragonfly, who is sweetly savoring the fragrance. But when Bully almost wipes out the lilies with his selfishness, a brave bee rallies all the other pond insects. Together, they form a massive, angry cloud—readers can almost hear their righteous, indignant buzzing—and chase Bully away to a mud pond that nobody wants. (“Humph,” he says, now covered in brown splotches. “All mine.”) Sattler’s brightly colored insect characters, including some slithering species, are not just adorable, they’re also fully within their rights. The lesson is clear: individuals may not feel very powerful against an intimidating figure, but there’s strength in numbers.

Bully - Activity Pages

Refer to download. View →

Author, Illustrator: Jennifer Sattler

Jennifer Sattler is the award-winning author and illustrator of numerous children’s books, including the new board books Dirty Birdies and Jungle Gym, as well as the picture book Sylvie, and the Pig Kahuna and the Chick ’n’ Pug series. She lives in upstate New York, where she delights in embarrassing her children and having meaningful conversations with her dog, Henry. Learn more about her at jennifersattlerbooks.com.

Narrator: Tamara Ryan

  • Beginning of text
  • A note about kindness
Author/Illustrator biography
Note to parents and educators
Full-color illustrations