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Bootsie Barker Bites

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Seeing bully Bootsie Barker get her comuppance is guaranteed to make young readers smile.

It's the worst when Bootsie Barker comes to my house. Bootsie's the one who pulls my hair and tears my books. She hates Charlene, my pet salamander. She says that I'm a turtle and she's a turtle-eating dinosaur.

Uh-oh, I think I hear a car pulling up. That's her now! Eeek!

"The colorful cartoon and wash drawings, filled with amusing detail, perfectly express the terroristic tactics and the narrator's frustration. When Bootsie is on a rampage, even the stuffed animals cover their eyes." -- School Library Journal  

32 pages, Paperback

First published September 16, 1992

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About the author

Barbara Bottner

61 books49 followers
Barbara Bottner, New York Times best-selling author, is a screenwriter, TV writer, and writing coach, who began her multi-hyphenate career as an artist and actor. Designing off-Broadway sets in the ’60s led her to performance and following her career in theatre, she began writing and illustrating books for children. In total, she has written over 40 books in all areas of children’s literature including Young Adult, Middle Grade, chapter, and "I Can Reads". Several of her award-winning picture books have been animated and translated into multiple languages.

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5 stars
166 (39%)
4 stars
120 (28%)
3 stars
103 (24%)
2 stars
28 (6%)
1 star
8 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 87 reviews
Profile Image for Nicholas Driscoll.
1,176 reviews10 followers
October 4, 2022
Cute book about a kid whose mother’s friend’s daughter is an awful bully who mistreats her and everything around her by pretending to be a dinosaur. Eventually the main character comes up with a plan to deal with the bully, and it’s quite amusing. I liked the lizard too. Slightly dark. Wonderful dream sequences.
Profile Image for Christy.
Author 14 books51 followers
February 9, 2017
Seeing bully Bootsie Barker get her comuppance is guaranteed to make young readers smile.

It's the worst when Bootsie Barker comes to my house. Bootsie's the one who pulls my hair and tears my books. She hates Charlene, my pet salamander. She says that I'm a turtle and she's a turtle-eating dinosaur.

Uh-oh, I think I hear a car pulling up. That's her now! Eeek!

"The colorful cartoon and wash drawings, filled with amusing detail, perfectly express the terroristic tactics and the narrator's frustration. When Bootsie is on a rampage, even the stuffed animals cover their eyes.
Profile Image for Melody.
2,629 reviews258 followers
October 13, 2012
The story, about Bootsie who bites, is slight but enjoyable. The illustrations really made the book for me. Bootsie's teeth are fearsome. Bootsie's shadow is terrifying. The colors are bright and punchy and blocky, but the characters come to life. Charlene the salamander is, unsurprisingly, my favorite character. She speaks volumes with her posture.
Profile Image for Scottsdale Public Library.
3,223 reviews209 followers
May 14, 2017
Bootsie is the ultimate bully who terrorizes our little heroine until she finally learns to stick up for herself. This is a cute story that teaches about bullying in a fun, non-threatening way.

-Jen K.-
21 reviews
May 16, 2020
Bootsie Barker Bites is about a mean young girl who is forced to be friends with another little girl because their mothers are friends. Bootsie is mean to her friend. She pulls hair, covers her mouth, forces her to play dangerous games, and does not appreciate any of her friends efforts to make connections. One night, Bootsie was asked to stay at her friend’s house overnight while her parents were out of town. Well, Bootsie was in for a rude awakening when the other little girl stood up for herself and invented a new game. Bootsie refused to stay the night and left with her parents. The other little girl was relieved.

I did not like this book. I felt like the story’s events were scattered and didn’t make a lot of sense. I also never found out the other characters name. The illustrations were not the greatest either.

This book could also be used to introduce the harmful effects of bully or to explain to child why biting is not okay (its scary!).
50 reviews2 followers
April 16, 2019
Bootsie Barker Bites is a funny story about a girl whose mom’s best friend’s daughter is really mean. The main character of the story does not like to play Bootsie because she always bullies her. Finally the main character stands up to Bootsie because she doesn’t want to be bullied anymore. This book was another one of my favorites when I was a kid. I honestly can’t remember why I liked it because when I read it again to review it I found Bootsie to be too annoying to read about. I think this is an important book to have in a first or second grade classroom because it teaches students that sometimes they have to deal with someone even if they are not nice to them. I also think that this book teaches students to stand up for themselves even if it might be scary. I would love to read this book to my students so they can have fun listening to it but also learn a lesson from it.
699 reviews4 followers
April 1, 2020
If you've never heard of Bootsie Barker, and neither have I until today, you're in for a riotous treat! This book is actually told thru the Pov of a young girl forced to be friends with Bootsie, the ultimate Kindergarten Mean Girl. Every day at the house Bootsie plays dinosaur, ready to eat the other girl alive, hah hah hah! All attempts to distract Bootsie with cute pets like the girl's pet turtle fail incomprehensibly! Can this girl stand up to her and rewrite the rules of Bootsie's game? Has a non ending of sorts but rest assured, these are girls at least six years old apiece so things could change in future installments. Til then feel free to laugh! After all, it's only a funny kids book.....riiiiight?
Three stars
Bites, nothin! Bootsie Barker Rules!!!
65 reviews
June 11, 2018
This is a big hit among our students, frequently requested, including by one who refers to it as "the bite-hair-pull book." It's actually a little old for them, but they get enough of it to enjoy it, and have a LOT of questions about what they don't get. The illustrations are full of fun little details to pick up on.
41 reviews
April 11, 2023
Through the funny story events, creative imaginations, and wonderful illustrations, this book was entertaining to read! My nephew and I were engaged throughout reading this book as we were interested on how the narrator would solve the issue with Bootsie Barker. My issue with this book is that the writing and overall story was a bit confusing at times.
Profile Image for Julie.
161 reviews1 follower
June 30, 2018
One of my favorites to read to my daughter. You can't help but want to shout "hooray!" when Bootsie gets a taste of her own medicine. It's hilarious. I appreciate the message that bullying is not ok and children don't have to put up with it.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
3,224 reviews27 followers
October 2, 2019
I loved this book! So funny! How to deal with a bully? Read this book! I have recommended it to children, parents, and teachers. Not one ever thought it was a bad book. Good book for day cares and kindergarten classes, 1st and 2nd grade, too. Love Peggy Rathman illustrations, too.
Profile Image for Erin.
2,226 reviews
October 12, 2021
I remember as a kid dreading the get togethers between my parents and their friends....and their horrible kids. This book would have been a treasure to me in those situations back then. As an adult, I feel a great satisfaction with how this book plays out.
33 reviews
December 7, 2018
Amusing picture book about a girl who has a problem with an obnoxious peer, and comes up with a creative and amusing way to solve the problem. Good story about self-reliance.
Profile Image for Cheryl .
9,276 reviews399 followers
February 29, 2020
Would standing up to bullies like this really work? It would certainly be worth a try, I think! Funny, too.
30 reviews
May 12, 2020
This a good book with an important message which teachers or parents can use if they suspect bullying. You can read about both the bully and bullied and how one can resolve the bullying.
Profile Image for Nancy.
574 reviews4 followers
May 17, 2020
Read by TN Secretary of State Tre Hargett and his wife for Chattanooga Public Library’s bedtime stories.
1 review
January 7, 2017
I think the girl in this book is rude, so I didn't give it a high rating.
22 reviews
March 31, 2016
The issue of bullying is very prevalent in today’s society and schooling systems. The book, “Bootsie Barker Bites”, addresses this issue in a way which children can understand. From the first page of the book when Bootsie is introduced, Bootsie has a mean grin on her face like she is going to cause trouble. When Bootsie plays, she is very controlling and mean to her friend. She acts like a dinosaur who is out to eat her friend and pins her to the ground by holding her hair. When Bootsie’s mom reminds the girls to play nicely, Bootsie replies “we are” and hold the other girls mouth so she is unable to respond. The girl Bootsie is bullying dreams of Bootsie falling off the edge of the earth because she is so mean to her. When her mom announces that Bootsie is sleeping over, she finally has enough and devices a plan to make sure Bootsie no longer bullies her.
For many children who have experienced bullying, they may feel they are alone and may not know how to handle the situation. This book allows the children to see that they are not the only one who is being bullied and they can relate to the feeling of being bullied. The book would also be very useful to read in an elementary classroom so that children are able to understand what bullying is and how being controlling or mean can really hurt someone’s feelings. The pictures in the book are very detailed and depict the emotions that the children feel throughout the book. When the girl is being bullied, you can see how scared and upset she is, and when Bootsie is bullying, she has a very deceptive and scary look on her face. This also allows children who are being bullied to relate the emotions that they are feeling to how the characters are feeling. Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to classroom teachers or parents to teach their children about bullying and the negative impact it can have on the victim.
44 reviews1 follower
March 13, 2018
A hilarious book about two mom's that are best friends, but the same is not true for their daughters. Bootsie is a little monster and doesn't get along with the other girl. The story ends with an entertaining twist.

Lexile: 530L
Guided Reading: I

Idea & Word Choice
May 12, 2015
(Contemporary Realist Fiction)
The main character in this story was a girl named Booties. She was a very control girl, when it came time to playing with her friend. Booties always has to do things her way, so when the two girls are playing she decides to be a dinosaur. Her friend doesn't like the dinosaurs, so she wishes Booties will fall off Earth and never come back. Until one day her friend came up with an idea to be a paleontologist. That causes Booties run out of the house and go back with her family. The images in this book do a great job of show the children's imaginations. Many times it is hard to see what is going on in a child's head, but this book shows it very well.

Children should read this book if they are having trouble with a controlling friend. It shows that just because one person has control most of the time, doesn't mean the roles can change. I wouldn't read this to a group of students, but I would lay it out for children to read on their own. That is because some of the ideas to get rid of Booties are not good things to do. Over all the book has a good message and is illustrated very well.
Profile Image for Susan.
Author 3 books5 followers
September 12, 2008
The bully and the hapless victim perfectly characterized - and while I understand the whole empower yourself concept, the way the mother of the girl who is being picked on just tells her to not allow Bootsie to pick on her plays into the "work it out for yourself" parenting concept I have seen fail far too often when kids are overwhelmed by bullies and parents underplay the harm being done. Just a line of "if you can't handle this, I am there for you" (only better written, of course!) would have made me an all out fan. Maybe I am just coming to this as a mother of a special needs child who had more than his share of bullies back in the day, but I think it is vital to let children who are being bullied to know that sometime it might be too much for them to handle. Additionally the ending was, as my once bullied son would have said, the way adults would have you believe things happen. Bullying generally does not get resolved with just one action nor so easily. (Might I add here, however, the illustrations are on mark terrific).
Profile Image for Mallori.
41 reviews
April 29, 2010
Summary: This book is about two little girls who have moms who are best friends. When Bootsie comes over to play, she completely scares her so-called friend and always says she is going to eat her because she is a dinosaur. She rips up all of her friend's books and hates her friend's pet salamander. She drags her around and never lets her friend talk when the parents ask if everything is OK. Bootsie is just absolutely one hundred percent mean.

Reading Level: Ages 4-8

Genre: Picture Book

Uses: Guided Reading, Independent Reading, Read-Aloud, Shared Reading

Social Issues: This allows children to see how bullying can affect others and that it can cause problems. Bullying should never occur and children should know this.

Literary Elements: There is dialogue used throughout the book and a lot of easy words that make it an easy and enjoyable read for children.

Text & Image: The text is simple but the illustrations create a more complex story that engages the reader.
Profile Image for Klarissa.
50 reviews19 followers
December 4, 2013
Bootsie Barker is a terrible and mean little girl. Her and her mother visit the main character’s house nearly everyday. The story is told from the point of view of a young girl that loves turtles and salamanders in which Bootsie hates both and decides to throw tantrums and pretend to eat her. The poor young girl can’t seem to escape Bootsie scaring and bullying her because their mothers are best friends. When Bootsie comes to stay the night the young girl is terrified and discovers a new game to play with Bootsie. This game scares off Bootsie and the young girl is safe once again. This story would be helpful for children who are timid or shy that has a bully. It teaches the children to stand up for themselves in a non-threatening way. Sometimes adults are blind to the signs of a child being bullied as shown in this book and it is good for a child to stand up for themselves every once in awhile.
Profile Image for Kristen.
Author 2 books19 followers
January 28, 2011
Oh, Peggy Rathmann, your art always gets me! From the first page, where we see the toothily sneering Bootsie, we know we are in for trouble! The narrator's mother and Bootsie's mother are best friends, which means the girls must play together often. Haven't we all had that awful situation of being stuck with someone secretly nasty like Bootsie? Barbara Bottner catches that anxious feeling so well, when the girl tries to tell her mother that playing with Bootsie is horrible and her mother says she must learn to get along. The part I most enjoy is the resolution and what it isn't: it isn't saccharine and unrealistic("and then the girls become best friends!"), it isn't encouraging actions we wouldn't want our kids to do, and it isn't didactic. The little girl finds a way to turn the tables on bully Bootsie and get a much-needed break. Great for a classroom read-aloud and discussion.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 87 reviews

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