Scapegoat by Ava Keyes
Ill. by Aleksandra Szmidt. Little Steps Books, 2018. ISBN
(Age: 4+) Themes: Bullying. School. Families. Scapegoat finds that he is on the lowest rung at home. Making a bit of a mess sees him being told that he is useless and causing his mother's stress. When at the pond in the park he becomes totally wet after playing with his brother, his father takes up the mantra of Scapegoat doing the wrong thing, his screaming and shouting causing him to be stressed. As a result their outing is curtailed, making Scapegoat feel responsible for stopping the family's fun. No matter what the animal does, he seems to get on the wrong side of his parents, who treat him with disdain
But at school he is a bright, energetic student, and he tells his teacher, Mr Sheep of his problems at home. He consoles him, telling him that he should never apologise for being himself, and that parents are sometimes under stress and certainly do not mean to be mean.
At parent teacher night, Mr Sheep approaches the problem with Scapegoat's parents and the problem is turned on its head.
Neatly resolved, this unsubtle reminder that parents can be bullies as well as siblings and members of the peer group, the teacher is seen as the mediator for Scapegoat's problem, and brings the parents to some understanding of their child's unease.
This could be another book to add to the group which deal with bullying, and presents a different form of bullying which may not have been discussed in class.