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Marlene, Marlene, Queen of Mean

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3.38  ·  Rating Details ·  181 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
Glee actress Jane Lynch takes a look at bullying head-on in her first picture book.
Marlene is the self-appointed queen of the playground, the sidewalk, and the school. She is small but mighty . . . intimidating! Known for her cruel ways, the little Queen of Mean has kids cowering in fear—until big Freddy stands up to her and says what everyone has been too fearful to say.
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Library Binding, 32 pages
Published September 23rd 2014 by Random House Books for Young Readers
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Rossy
Dec 10, 2015 Rossy rated it it was ok
Shelves: children-s
Cute illustrations, but Marlene's change was too forced IMO.
Karen's Books Beside My Bed
I am usually a bit wary of celebrity picture books but the more I heard Jane Lynch talk about how she used to be a bully the more I wanted to read it. Plus you should always be wary of girls with huge bows on their heads. That is one thing I learned from Saturday morning cartoons.
The book is simple enough with rhyming couplets that describe the atrocities that Marlene creates across the playground. She rules the school yard until one boy stands up and asks "Why?" Why is she ruling us? Especially
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Karin
Feb 26, 2014 Karin rated it it was amazing
I'm not usually a fan of celebrity-written picture books, but....this one is really great! Jane Lynch does a fantastic job in the rhythm and rhyme of the story. It isn't just simple rhyming couplets. In addition to the wonderful style, the story is also a good one. Of course, we have Marlene is the bully of the class and has everyone afraid of her. Finally, one person stands up and makes the case that the class shouldn't be afraid of her. Once the other students refuse to let themselves be ...more
Karen
Unfortunately, celebrity-penned children's books tend to make me cringe because I've read so many terrible ones (most recently...How Roland Rolls). But, this one has one huge plus right from the start - Tricia Tusa's awesome illustrations- so I gave it a go on my lunch break, and I'm thrilled I did. Cute anti-bullying story with a lilting rhyming text that should be a read-aloud hit. I hope Jane Lynch continues to bring us more of these! Can't wait to order for home!
Kim
Apr 22, 2015 Kim rated it liked it
This is a rhyming book about bullying. Marlene, Queen of Mean was really hiding behind a mask. Inside, she just wanted to be liked and a part of a group. Once her meanness breaks, her old self only comes out, once in awhile, in very small ways.
Venus
Dec 11, 2014 Venus added it
Review originally posted on Children's Atheneum

Marlene is the self-appointed Queen of the playground. And everywhere else for that matter. Known for her cruel ways, Marlene has all the children afraid of her, that is until Freddy stands up to her. Soon, Marlene finds that her mean ways aren't making her friends or enemies.

I guess it was inevitable that Jane Lynch, who has made a living out of playing the bully, would write a book about bullying. Just like it was no surprise when Julianna Moore w
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Amy Rae
Sep 27, 2014 Amy Rae rated it really liked it
I wasn't expecting to give this one more than three stars, but I was pleasantly surprised by it. Lynch was smart to enlist the help of her ex-wife, psychologist Lara Embry, in the book's writing.

What really sets this book apart from other books about bullying for me is the fact that it treats kindness as a process:

You see, it's a breeze
To learn how to tease
It's harder, sometimes
To be decent.


For all people, young and old, being kind can require conscious effort. I like that this book acknowledg
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Barbara
All of her classmates cringe whenever Marlene is around. After all, she bullies them on the playground, in class, and even on their way to the bathroom. There seems to be no place safe for them to go. But as this story, told in rhyming text that is fun to read aloud, shows, there is much more--and less--to Marlene than meets the eye. Once Big Freddy calls her out and reveals the truth, Marlene is forced start acting nicer to everyone around her. With its lively and cartoonish illustrations, this ...more
Mississippi Library Commission
Oh, Marlene. Why are you such a huge bully?

Marlene has managed to build quite the reputation for herself. She picks on people constantly; there is no safe place to hide. Until one day, one kid questions the queen of the playground, and her world of tyranny comes tumbling down. Marlene is such a well-developed picture book character; we really enjoyed getting to know her. As she struggles to make a change for the better and slowly improves, the bullies and the bullied of the world will understand
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Chris
Jul 01, 2014 Chris rated it did not like it
Shelves: picture-book
Lynch, Embry, and Mikesell present reads with a look at the actions (and eventual comeuppance) of a school yard bully named Marlene. Told in rhyme, the story feels is humorous, but feels unrealistic and shallow during the resolution of Big Freddy convincing the other children to stand up to Marlene. The pastel watercolor illustrations by Tricia Tusa are attractively created, but the details that give Marlene her personality are strangely missing from the other children, making them appear ...more
Theresa White
1.Marlene, the class bully, rules the school until Freddy stands up to her and asks why? Freddy is the first person to stand up to her, soon all the other students realize that Marlene is not so scary after all, she is just a bully. After Marlene continues to try and be wary to the other students she eventually breaks down and decides to be nicer to the other students and becomes friends with her classmates.
2. After reading this book, I would have the children make a poster describing what makes
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Janet
A rhyming text depicting, Marlene the Queen of mean. The text and illustrations detailing being mean are spot on. How Marlene loses her meanness is weird. The efforts of Marlene to have better behavior show her making strides which is very normal.

I especially liked the text: "We cringe and we cower
and give her our power
because we all think
she's in charge!"
Haven't we all done this at one time or another?
Elisabeth
Rhyming picture book about a bully who learns to change her spots. I actually identified with Marlene-even though I was more apt to be the bullied rather than the bully growing up-because it is so hard to make positive changes in our lives. This was a special breath of fresh air for me coming off The Princess and the Presents, in which I found the heroine's changes highly unlikely.
Samantha
A rhyming profile of a playground bully who reforms her ways when her victims stand up to her.

This one is just okay for me; it's hard to take it very seriously when it's written in such a sing songy rhyme pattern.

For such an important topic and the fact that a child psychologist was part of the creative team producing this book I was surprised/let down that the back matter was nonexistent. I was looking for something along the lines of a word to parents/educators with tips on how to talk about
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Krista
Feb 12, 2015 Krista rated it it was ok
Mean Marlene has been the bully even though she is not very big until one day Big Freddy realizes she’s not that scary. While the message is there the story lacks depth and the rhymes seemed forced such as “do” to “loo” (what kid knows the word loo?) The depiction of Marlene doesn’t seem to fit with the story even though the illustrations are done by the amazing Tricia Tusa. Stick with Alexis O’Neill’s The Recess Queen.
Diane
Marlene, though not very big or scary, bullies students until Freddy asks "Why? ... We cringe and we cower and give her our power because we all think she's in charge!" And when the kids start to stand up to her, she no longer has that power ... "She's just a bully." Marlene's "meanness - it broke into one hundred and twenty three pieces."

Even a bully can have a change of heart. I love the quote about giving a bully the "power". It's such an important message for kids.
Martha
Mar 15, 2015 Martha rated it liked it
Written by the actress of the TV show Glee, Jane Lynch and a child psychologist, and a writing teacher, this title has a strong message, "stand up to bullies." The story is simplistic yet would work well in a guidance lesson. The fun ink and water color illustrations, and rollicking verse keep the story from being too preachy.
Cemeread
Oct 02, 2014 Cemeread rated it liked it
Shelves: children
Marlene finds out being mean isn't the way to win friends when someone let's her know she isn't scary, just a bully. She decides to change, but has some backslides. I like that this is included as change takes time and we all fall back to bad habits some time. There is some rhyming in the story, which flows well.
Rachel Watkins
Apr 14, 2014 Rachel Watkins rated it it was amazing
There can never be enough children's books about dealing with mean kids. The story of mean Marlene is told in delightful rhyme. Read to see how her school mates stand up to her and how Marlene changes her ways. Favorite line: "You see, it's a breeze to learn how to tease: it's harder, sometimes to be decent."
Amanda L. Cottman
A great rhyming story about bullies

My 5 year old & I both enjoy the ebb and the flow like a Dr. Seuss book. The moral of the story is to not give bullies power over you. I always say people act like they do because someone or more are enabling the behavior. I know this will be a family favorite for our family. BTW: Love Jane Lynch!
Elizabeth S
Sep 30, 2015 Elizabeth S rated it really liked it
Good rhyming and cadence really add a lot to a picture book, and this one has both. I also appreciate the messages that we don't have to let bullies have power, that bullies can change, and that sometimes change takes time. Well done.
Lynn
We find out in ballad style how Marlene changes - or at least makes progress - in changing her bullyish ways. Cartoonish illustrations amply portray Marlene's 'deeds'.
I like that it is realistic in that change is difficult, and we don't always change completely overnight!
Marcie
I know there are many books on bullying and many teachers think there can never be enough. I guess my frustration with this one is it seems to be so easily resolved, but if it serves for even one "Mean Marlene" to try to change, I guess it will have served it's purpose.
Jana
This is a fun rhyming story about a little girl who is a mean bully at school. When someone finally stands up to her, they realize she's not so scary after all. Can she become a nice girl? The illustrations are awesome and I think this will be fun book to share with my students.
Barbara
Feb 24, 2016 Barbara rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Oh Marlene, Marlene the Queen of Mean. She kicked and pinched her way to being the queen of the bullies until someone called her out on her behavior. It took a while but she became a much nicer kid. For kids ages 3 - 7.
Donna
Jul 02, 2014 Donna rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-books
Cute story - good for open circle conversations. Like that one child stood up to her and helped her change. Would pair it with Recess Queen for a unit on bullies.
DRC via Edelweiss
Sara K.
Jane Lynch does a good job with this one. Could definitely be used as a character Ed teaching book.
Amanda
Oct 21, 2014 Amanda rated it really liked it
Celeb picture books can be bad but not this one. It's a cute but to the point story of an important topic. Young children can appreciate the story and learn a lesson about the wrongness of bullying.
Dolores
May 01, 2014 Dolores rated it liked it
Shelves: edw-arc, z-to-post
Marlene, Marlene, don't be so mean!

The message is clear, don't let bullies steal your power. This book is an excellent tool to generate a conversation about bullies and how to handle them.
Sherry
Nov 19, 2014 Sherry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cleary-gang
Excellent, the story captures the attention and holds it as Marlene goes from being a bully to being a good friend.
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Jane Marie Lynch is an American comedienne, actress and singer. Since 2009, she has played the role of Sue Sylvester in the Fox musical-comedy series Glee for which she has won an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award. She has also played roles in comedies such as Best in Show, The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Role Models, as well as for her recurring roles as lawyer Joyce Wischina in The L Word, Dr. ...more
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