Book of the Week: Bad Astrid

Book of the Week, Children's

Bad Astrid by Eileen Brennan Illustrated by Regan Dunnick

Published: 2013 by Random House Books for Young Reads

Reasons why I liked this book, and chose it as Book of the Week:

I like the name Astrid. Me + the book = meant to be.

Astrid is, judging from the cover, a mean looking bulldog (well, I think she’s a bulldog). But even though she is rather mean looking, she’s also quiet cute: she’s wearing a red jumper and has a tiny bow in each ear.

The end paper art shows little Astrid antagonizing a seemingly terrified pigeon.

I don’t like pigeons.

Shortly after, readers find out why the pigeon looks terrified — Astrid has invaded their bird bath.

The text rhymes! What’s not to love about a book – a picture book – that rhymes!

Pigeons aren’t the only ones terrified by Astrid. If judging by the pictures than people are too!

Astrid is a kick – butt kinda character — I like that!

But she’s also kind of bully — I don’t like that!

All the characters are various breeds of dogs. And they all wear clothes, hats, and even bows. Why wouldn’t they wear these things?!

I love the depiction of Astrid’s bedroom. There are toys EVERYWHERE, stray socks litter the floor, several homemade drawings cover the walls (I particularly love the one of super girl soaring through the clouds), but what I like best about her room is this: Astrid’s smiling!

The narrator of this story is NOT Astrid. Instead, it’s one of Astrid’s neighbors.

She explains how Astrid makes her feel with real emotion.

Astrid has some bad habits: she growls, and spits, and sputters when anyone walks past her yard.

I think Astrid’s mean because she’s afraid that people will not like her.

Even though Astrid is shown popping the heads off of flowers, I bet she secretly wants to smell them.

Some of Astrid’s most favorite past times include: teasing birds (but we knew that from the end pages), destroying lemonade stands, ruining other people’s chalk drawings, and dropping acorns on the little narrator’s head.

It’s no wonder Astrid isn’t liked.

I like you Astrid.

Instead of being bothered by all the bad things Astrid’s been doing to her, our faithful little narrator carries on with her summer. She learns to knit, to tango, and even a bit of karate.

The little narrator is also VERY crafty. She built a small Eiffel Tower … out of Popsicle sticks! Genius!

But Astrid eventually ruined the small Eiffel.

But accidentally this time. She lost control of her bike, and crash landed upon it.

Astrid was hurt, and to her surprise she found herself asking for help.

The little narrator is a good friend. Despite all that Astrid has done to her, she helps her.

Well, not before asking her why she’s so mean?

Astrid was just looking for some attention, someone to be friends with.

When Astrid’s riding her bike, she wears a helmet with a skull and crossbones on it! That’s so punk rock!

Seeing someone reach out to her, someone who she was mean to has made Astrid turn over a new leaf.

She actually HUGS the little narrator.

Even though Astrid is bad, she isn’t really bad. Deep down, she’s “quite nice.”

I really LOVE how this book shows that you shouldn’t judge a person you barely know.

What I also love about this book is that it says: no one really likes a bully.

Everyone needs a friend.

The writing (besides rhyming) is simple, strong, and sends a great message out to readers.

The illustrations are great! They are inviting and they really make the text come to life.

And it’s short, sweet, and to the point!


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