PINGO AND THE PLAYGROUND BULLY
written by Brandon Mull, illustrated by Brandon Dorman
Shadow Mountain, 2012
Picture Book Fantasy
Reviewed from purchased copy.
ABOUT THE BOOK
In first grade, Chad and his imaginary friend, Pingo, meet other kids
and their imaginary friends: Gary protects the galaxy with Sparky the
robot; Tiffany helps save the day with Awesome Girl; and Dustin can hide
Mr. Bob in his pocket. One recess, after defeating a clan of lava
monsters, Chad and his friends decide to have a contest to see which
imaginary friend is the smartest or the strongest or the sneakiest.
However, when Jeremy, the schoolyard bully, and his imaginary friend,
Grunt, decide to prove that they re the best, Pingo saves the day by
befriending Jeremy and Grunt and inviting them on an adventure down the
Amazon River. We re all good at different things, and that makes
friendship fun. Let s go play! A delightful, full-color picture book
about the power of kindness and the importance of including others.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brandon Mull is the author of the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling
Beyonders and Fablehaven series. Brandon resides in a happy little
valley near the mouth of a canyon with his wife and four children. He
spent two years living in the Atacama Desert of Northern Chile where he
learned Spanish and juggling. He once won a pudding eating contest in
the park behind his grandma’s house, earning a gold medal.
There are a lot of books being published about bullying and the effects of it. What I loved about this one is the imagination involved and the extra twist involving thinking one is better than someone else and how that can lead to a different kind of bullying, even among friends. Chad and his imaginary friend, Pingo, spend recess playing with their friends, Gary, Tiffany, and Dustin along with their imaginary friends. They avoid Jeremy though and his imaginary friend, Grunt, because he bullies them. One day though they get into a contest about which imaginary friend is better. I loved that Pingo points out that this is silly because each of them has things that they do especially well. I especially liked the fact that when Jeremy and Grunt step up to bully the kids and their friends, instead of fighting back or getting defensive, Pingo steps up and invites Jeremy and Grunt to play with them. In addition to liking the story line, I loved Brandon Dorman's illustrations, they are so bright and colorful and imaginative, they create a lot of things to talk about when sharing the book.