Reviews for Bad Astrid

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Fall
New neighbor Astrid is tormenting the narrator, who finally confronts her when Astrid crashes her bike. But it's not a downtrodden-bullied-kid story: the book features extremely funny (if not-always-smooth) rhymes ("my heart sank a trifle / as there came crashing down / my Popsicle stick Eiffel"). The endearing human-seeming dog characters are rendered with a spare line and much compassion.

Kirkus Reviews 2013 April #1
This book defines wishful thinking. First off, it has a happy ending: The narrator gets tired of being bullied and demands, "Why?...Why are you mean to me?" Astrid begins to stutter. After weeks of tipping over lemonade stands and washing away chalk drawings, she has a sudden change of heart. "I...I'm sorry..." she says. "I just wanted attention, I guess." Then she cleans up the Popsicle-stick tower she's just knocked over. The world really ought to work like that. The narrator just needs to perform a small act of kindness--picking Astrid up off the ground after a bike crash--and she becomes quite nice. There are hugs and thank-you's. Say what? There may be bullies in the world who just need hugs and attention, but it's rare for them to admit it so quickly. Even younger readers may be puzzled by the abrupt change in behavior. The rhymes are also disappointing. The low point may be: "But still her bike rolled, / and my heart sank a trifle / as there came crashing down / my Popsicle stick Eiffel!" The simple, childlike illustrations, however, are charming. Readers may appreciate the book's humor and psychological insight, but they shouldn't mistake it for an instruction manual. (Picture book. 3-6) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 April #2

Are bullies just lonely and misunderstood? It's a hot topic, and where readers stand may determine their willingness to embrace this story and its cast of anthropomorphic dogs. Astrid is "a cranky, crabby troll," declares Brennan's (Dirtball Pete) put-upon narrator, an unlucky neighbor of Astrid. "She loved to destroy any fun I had planned./ She'd squirt-gun chalk drawings, topple my lemonade stand." But when Astrid takes a tumble on her bike, the narrator seizes the moment to confront her ("Why? Why are you mean to me?") and discovers that "my abominable new neighbor could really use a friend." Most readers--especially those who may have been bullied themselves--will probably feel that Astrid's redemption is earned far too easily. And that's too bad, because Dunnick's (Creak! Said the Bed) cartoon art is first-rate. His penciled textures and pops of offbeat color give the pictures the hip look of contemporary animation, while his sense of action and pacing is faultless. In fact, Astrid's bike crash (and yes, she's wearing a helmet, albeit a skull-emblazed one) is one of the most vivid in recent memory. Ages 3-6. (May)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

School Library Journal Reviews 2013 April

PreS-Gr 1--A pudgy, long-eared dog moves into the neighborhood and starts terrorizing her neighbor, a smaller, blue-faced pup. Astrid's mean-spirited shenanigans are recounted in bouncy verse littered with some fun vocabulary that occasionally forces the rhyme and does not scan well, but not enough to truly mar this book. "In her bike helmet painted/with a skull and crossbones,/she tore up the sidewalk/like a mini-cyclone." When Bad Astrid gets herself into trouble and her kindhearted neighbor helps her out, they become friends. Dunnick's funny cartoons lighten the mood. Readers will giggle at Astrid flying through the air, underpants showing, while they learn a simple lesson. Libraries that need more titles on bullying should consider purchasing this just-shy-of-didactic look at the mean kid who needs a little love and attention.--Angela J. Reynolds, Annapolis Valley Regional Library, Bridgetown, NS, Canada

[Page 126]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.