Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Bully on the Bus

I’m so glad that Steven Herrick has taught me to appreciate verse novels this year. It’s really opened up my reading, and made me not frightened to take on a verse novel from time to time. I’ve been keen to read Kathryn Apel’s Bully on the Bus for a while now, and a recent Sydney-Melbourne flight was the perfect time.

Leroy is in kindergarten. He takes the bus to and from school each day with his older sister Ruby. DJ is an older high school girl who enjoys tormenting Leroy each day. She is the bully on the bus. Leroy is sick of being bullied.

I feel the red-hot
lava spill out of the
bully’s mouth and ooze
over my face
burning it
clumsy red. 

I’m good at maths.
Mrs Wilson says so.
But the bully makes me feel

He doesn’t want to go to school anymore, despite being a good student. He is anxious and apprehenisve. Always wondering. 

What will the bully do today?

Kathryn Apel has written a great verse novel expressing that ever present dread of the bully, so often lurking on a bus, who must be faced every day. Kathryn lives and writes on a Queensland farm, and draws inspiration from Australian rural life for her stories. Kathryn's website, she coordinates a Month of Poetry each January. 


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