A Girl Named Earle

Children - Social Issues
24 Pages
Reviewed on 05/01/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Barbara Fanson for Readers' Favorite

A Girl Named Earle is a story destined to create discussion amongst teachers and students, parents, and children. What is the best way to deal with bullies? How would you react if someone said you had a boy’s name? Author Anne Toole has written a story about the controversial topic of bullying. How should a girl named Earle react when other students chide her about having a “boy’s name?” There are lots of names shared by both genders like Kim, Terry, and Chris. How should children react when other students tease them? Should we shove them or knock them down? Should we threaten them with physical violence? Should we get angry and yell? How should children behave when teased or bullied?

A Girl Named Earle is a “must-have book” for every school, public, and home library. This book should be on every shelf to read and encourage discussion about emotions, bullying, and how to deal with problems at school or at home. Author Anne Toole has written another thoughtful story with a subtle message, similar to her previous book, Shy Ty. Written in rhyme, this story demonstrates how one girl deals with teasing at school. Hopefully, this interesting story will encourage conversation on how children can handle problems or teasing at school or at home. Beautiful, colorful illustrations fill one side of the book, with the story on the opposite page. Illustrator Richa Kinra has drawn wonderful artwork that will invite children into the book and keep them interested to finish reading it. An interesting story with a vital message.

Grant Leishman

A Girl Named Earle by Anne Toole is a short, delightful children’s book that seeks to highlight the problem of bullying. Earle was not aware that she had a predominately boy’s name until she began attending school. When she was asked by one of the boys why she had a boy’s name instead of a girl’s, she was so shocked and surprised that she immediately asked her Mum about it. When the questions about her name actually spread to taunting by a number of her classmates, Earle began to get angry and reacted violently to the taunting. This story tells us what Earle learned about bullying and its consequences.

A Girl Named Earle is a brief look at the problem of bullying from the perspective of younger children. Author Anne Toole has produced a lovely little book, complete with old-school illustrations, which would be a perfect read for the four to eight age bracket or a lovely companion story to be read to a child at bedtime by an adult. Written in a poetic prose style, the lines just trip along and with language that is easily understood by the target audience, it is a simple pleasure to read. I particularly liked that the effects of bullying were explored not just from the perspective of the one being bullied but also from that of the bully. Earle’s reaction was typical of what we could expect from a taunted young child and the story definitely passes on a valuable lesson for everyone. This would be a perfect book for that youngster just beginning to explore social interactions and the pitfalls that come along with it.

Jack Magnus

A Girl Named Earle is a children’s social issues picture book written by Anne Toole and illustrated by Richa Kinra. Earle was a happy child who enjoyed playing with her toys, listening to music, and riding her bike with her friend, Mike. She had no idea that her name was a “boy’s” name until her friend, Beth, asked her about it. When she got home from school that day, her mom explained that she had always liked the name and decided to name her child Earle regardless of their gender. Earle was fine with that until one day at school, Jay started to give her a hard time. Soon, other kids were teasing Earle because of her name, and it was starting to make Earle’s life miserable -- until she decided to put a stop to it.

Anne Toole’s A Girl Named Earle addresses the issue of bullying and teasing, and the impact that it can have on a child who is bearing the brunt of unwanted attention. In this case, Earle’s solution to the problem is to respond as if she were indeed a boy and not a girl. And while her reaction is limited to a simple push, the response she gets is sufficient to halt the escalation of the bullying she was being subjected to. Toole’s story offers caregivers an excellent springboard for discussions about when teasing is hurtful and becomes bullying, and the options kids have to address the problem. And while Earle’s solution is an effective one, caregivers should impress upon young readers the importance of letting an adult in on the problem before it escalates. Richa Kinra’s bright and cheerful illustrations impart a retro feel to the story and work perfectly with the text. A Girl Named Earle is highly recommended.