Picture Books Where the Bullies Get What They Deserve

Even the youngest kids can have a clear sense of right, wrong, fairness, and justice – just ask the preschooler whose older sibling takes away a toy or refuses to share a treat! And because you’re a good parent, you strive to treat all of your kids fairly and dole out appropriate consequences when one of them misbehaves.

Unfortunately, the world isn’t always so just. Sometimes, bad guys win and good guys suffer. It can be overwhelming to adults, let alone kiddos.

You can help your kids handle injustice by talking about your personal beliefs and pointing out real life happy endings whenever you see them. Another way to reassure children that it does pay to be moral and honorable is by reading books together in which the wrongdoers get their comeuppance. Books that have humorous storylines and vibrant images are even better!

To help you get started, here are three engaging picture books in which those old bullies get exactly what they deserve. Read them together for an enjoyable and encouraging experience.

I Want My Hat Back

By Jon Klassen

Bear has lost his hat and goes about asking the other animals if they’ve seen it. None of the animals have seen it. Bear helps Turtle onto a rock, and continues to ask the other animals ever so politely if they have seen his hat.

Rabbit snaps at Bear rather rudely when he asks about his hat, saying that he would never steal someone else’s hat.

Deer sees Bear, who is very sad, and asks what’s wrong. Bear tells Deer about his missing hat and begins to describe it, when he has a sudden, crucial realization. Bear has seen his hat!

He runs back past all of the other animals until he reaches Rabbit, who has a red, pointy hat right on his head.

The book closes with Bear happily wearing his hat once more and Squirrel asking if he has seen a rabbit wearing a hat. To which, Bear snippily replies that he would never eat a rabbit. 

Mr. Wolf’s Pancakes

By Jan Fearnley

Mr. Wolf is craving some delicious pancakes. He finds a recipe in his cookbook, but the truth is that wolves cannot read so well. He asks his neighbors for help, but Chicken Licken slams the door right in his face.

Disappointed, Mr. Wolf figures out the recipe on his own and decides to make a shopping list. Unfortunately, wolves aren’t very handy with lists, either. He visits another neighbor, Wee Willy Winky, who also tells him to go away and slams the door on him.

Once again, he figures out how to make a list by himself, but when he needs to count his money he has a bit of trouble. He asks his neighbor, The Gingerbread Man, to please help him. Once again, he’s met with a slamming door.

He asks Little Red Riding Hood to borrow her basket, but she rudely refuses. After shopping, he asks the Three Little Pigs to help him cook, offering to share the pancakes with them. Of course, they turn him down harshly.

Mr. Wolf goes home and makes pancakes all by himself. His nasty neighbors come banging on his door, refusing to leave until he’s fed them. His ravenous, selfish neighbors push him aside and head for the kitchen. But Mr. Wolf will have his revenge.

This twist on the Big Bad Wolf will bring on the giggles and actually have your kids rooting for the usual fairy tale villain.

The Odd Egg

By Emily Gravett

All of the birds except Duck have laid eggs. Duck is sad until he finds a big, polka dotted egg - the prettiest egg he has ever seen. The other birds don’t share his enthusiasm. They call the egg odd, say that it’s not so pretty, and doubt it will ever hatch.

One by one, the birds’ eggs begin to hatch. Chicken, Flamingo, Owl, Parrot, and Wren each greet their brand new babies, but Duck’s egg still hasn’t hatched.

When the other birds mock him for caring for the odd egg, Duck is sad once more until...

Suddenly, the big polka dotted egg hatches. But no one could have expected what’s inside! Sweet, sweet revenge.

The subtlety of the resolution will tickle children, although some may need a little help realizing exactly what takes place. Each of these books is sure to become a favorite, with each unkind character getting his or her just desserts.

Know of any more books where the bad guys get what they deserve? Share your favorites with us!

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