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The Meanest Thing to Say by Bill Cosby
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The Meanest Thing to Say

by Bill Cosby, Varnette P. Honeywood (Illustrator)

Series: Little Bill

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6801022,272 (3.19)3
When a new boy in his second grade class tries to get the other students to play a game that involves saying the meanest things possible to one another, Little Bill shows him a better way to make friends.

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» See also 3 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
This is a great little book with a big lesson. A new kid comes to school and doesn't quite know how to make friends so he comes up with a game where the person who says the meanest thing wins. Little Bill's father teaches Little Bill that there is no point in saying mean things to one another. You should instead defuse the situation.

I was really surprised to see that this is an Oprah's Book Club pick, but after reading it and getting the message I now see how invaluable it is. ( )
  Emma_Manolis | Jun 27, 2017 |
Bill learns to deal with a new student bullying in school by replying to the bully "so?" which angers the bully and eventually stops the bullying. ( )
  berthashaver | May 9, 2013 |
When a boy makes up a game about saying mean things, Little Bill learns a valuable lesson from his father about dealing with cruel words.
  clwalker | Jun 24, 2012 |
Little Bill and his friends are introduced to a new game by Michael Reilly. You get twelve chances to say something mean to another kid--and whoever comes up with the biggest insult is the winner, but little Bill dad help shows him the best way to win; to say So. This would a great book to read if a teacher wanted to discuss bullying. It was a pretty good book. ( )
  jmvarnad | May 5, 2012 |
Summary of Book:
This story is about a boy named Michael Riley who introduces a new game to little Bill and his friends. They had twelve chances to say something mean to another child and whoever comes up with the meanest thing to say would be the winner. Little bill could not come up with mean things to say so he went home and told his parents about the game. His father taught him a strategy that would cause a big insult to the players. This strategy was asking "so?" every time someone said something mean to him. Little Bill used this strategy with his friends on the next game of basketball and he wins the game and they all become friends.

Personal Reaction:
I especially like this book because of my personal experience with kids. I love kids and they always have complaints about someone being mean to them. No matter how we try to encourage them to ignore these things, it does not seem to work. My son also complains about being bullied at school with mean words, I will try this on him as well. I like the illustrations because they were very suitable to the story setting. There was a game scene as well as the mean facial expressions when they were being mean to each other. I also like the ending where the facial reactions changed from mean and upset to happy and satisfying when they all became friends.

Classroom Extension Ideas:
This can be an excellent source of teaching morals or character building traits of humility and good behavior. Students can read this book and give their personal view on it. Students can be asked what they would have done in that similar situation. Another activity that can come out of this book is that the students write a word that can be used to combat mean things to say. I would encourage my kids to reply to insults by asking "so?" without a cute face. I would also encourage them not to use mean words and to combat such behavior with a serious face along with kind words. ( )
  SharineHodge | Feb 1, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bill Cosbyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Honeywood, Varnette P.Illustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Dear Parent:

Sooner or later, most children - on the street, the playground, or at school - meet other children who are deliberately mean. When this happens, there are several options for a child who is being picked on. Too often, the picked-on child's immediate response is either to fight back or to attempt a protective retreat. Retreating is preferable since fighting back will certainly escalate the conflict and may result in injury to both children. Not the best solution!

This story presents a sensible alternative course of action. With guidance from his parents, Little Bill learns to cope with a hostile child by controlling his own reactions . At school, he manipulates the confrontation without stooping to being "mean" himself. Heeding his father's advice he gains the upper hand by saying "So?" to the angry boy's taunts. When Little Bill simply refuses to participate, the nasty name-calling falls flat. His strategy succeeds! Finding that his tactics aren't working, the deflated "mean" kid retreats in embarrassment.
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A little boy learns how to cope with the class bully.
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