What Happens Next by Susan Hughes
In What Happens Next a small girl dreads confrontations with a school bully. Filled with sparse text that clearly illustrates this issue, this book features an effective call and response pattern that creates suspense while focusing on what the protagonist feels. The illustrations also communicate how the protagonist feels. For example, in the first illustration she is all blue, the bully is all green, and everyone else in the school ground is black and white - emphasizing the confrontation, and the non-participation of all her classmates. In a later illustration, our protagonist's mother is added to the school ground scene, watching from the fence - her supportive participation is represented with colour. Her mother's support and guidance help her to successfully approach the bully and in a subsequent scene everyone in the school ground is in colour and - importantly - our protagonist and the bully have only blue and green shirts, respectively, while their faces and pants are coloured similarly. Their conflict is no longer central to our protagonist's life. This book's perfect, emotionally healthy message is expressed with enough precision that it might help a real child (or parent) to be brave too. I hope so. I encourage libraries to give their patrons the opportunity of reading this book.
Hardcover LBN pr1300433