Prather’s Pick: A book with a message about bullying

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“Colorful” is one of the words that describes this week’s picture book for kids. Besides that, it’s just plain fun, and the book has a message about bullying, too.

“Peanut Butter and Jellyfish” was written and illustrated by Jarrett J. Krosoczka. The book, copyright 2014, is published by Alfred A. Knopf.

photo

Diane Prather

The story starts as soon as the reader opens the page and finds an illustration of the ocean, done in purple and blue. Some fishermen ride across the water in their fishing boat. Meanwhile, Peanut Butter, a seahorse, and Jellyfish, a white jellyfish, swim around under the water with lots of colored fish. An oyster, or perhaps a clam, peers wide-eyed through his partially open shell.

Peanut Butter and Jellyfish are the best of friends who spend their days exploring the ocean, even a sunken ship. Their days are very pleasant except for Crabby, a large orange crab with big eyes and ominous-looking claws. Even the fish try to avoid Crabby, and the oyster looks scared.

It isn’t as if the crab chases the animals or anything; instead he heckles Peanut Butter and Jellyfish. He says they swim like humans, smell like rotten barnacles and are bubbleheads. Peanut Butter and Jellyfish try to ignore him, but Crabby’s words make them feel miserable.

Then one day, when Peanut Butter and Jellyfish swim past Crabby’s rock, they hear a sobbing-like sound. Crabby is caught in the fishermen’s lobster trap. It is being slowly lifted to the surface.

Boy, is the crab scared, and he has reason to be, too. Peanut Butter and Jellyfish have a chance to get rid of the old heckler, but they know Crabby is in serious trouble, and they have to help. Peanut Butter has a plan. The seahorse opens the trap door with his tail, and he and Jellyfish wait for Crabby to climb down out of the trap. He’d better hurry, too, because the lobster trap is close to the surface of the water.

But Crabby can’t swim. Besides, he’s afraid of heights. Who would have guessed? What to do now?

Later on, Crabby is brave enough to apologize. There’s a wonderful message in this book.

According to the information on the credit page, the illustrations were “created using digital collage of acrylic paintings.” They’re done in bright colors.

Krosoczka is the author and illustrator of other picture books, including “Ollie the Purple Elephant,” “Punk Farm” and “Baghead.”

This week’s book is a new book in the children’s section at the Moffat County Library. It costs $16.99 if you decide to buy it in hardcover.

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