Myrtle Book Poster Image




Affirming story of a little rat standing up to a bully.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Presents some useful strategies for standing up to a bully and avoiding feeling like a victim. Exposes kids to some African culture through masks and native dress.

Positive messages

Even after you've been bullied, there are ways to stand up for yourself and avoid being hurt by bullying. This book also shows how a kid can get help and inspiration from grown-ups when having a rough time with another kid. Myrtle's parents are sympathetic, and they bring in Aunt Tizzy to help. Tizzy's suggestions work, and they help Myrtle feel "bigger and stronger," rather than powerless.

Positive role models

Myrtle's Aunt Tizzy, just back from a safari in Africa, is a great role model: kind, spunky, fearless, and fun. She helps Tizzy deal with the bully next door, while offering a bit of comic relief as well. However, her admission that she would sometimes "roar back" at rude lions she encountered on safari is not the safest behavior to model.

Violence & scariness

Frances, the bully next door, pretends to be a monster and scares Myrtle and Myrtle's baby brother so much that they resolve to remain inside. But their Aunt Tizzy helps them feel brave and capable of facing the bully again.

Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this cute picture books about a little girl rat and the rat bully who moves in next door deals with the issue of bullying in terms a little kid can understand and relate to.

User reviews

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

A little rat named Myrtle has a happy life -- until a mean rat named Frances moves in next store. When Myrtle and her baby brother go outside to play, Frances sings mean songs about them, ambushes them, and scares them so much they decide to just stay indoors. Their parents bring in the kids' spunky Aunt Tizzy, just back from a safari in Africa, who, with her stories of bravery and some African masks, helps Myrtle fell strong enough to stand up to Frances. Myrtle asks Aunt Tizzy if she was scared of the lions in Africa, and Tizzy says when they roared, \"I told them to stop being rude, and if they continued, I'd simply roar back. ... Or sometimes,\" she adds, \"I would just sing and dance until they were gone.\" Myrtle tries both strategies and finds they work.

Is it any good?


MYRTLE does an excellent job of tackling the bullying issue at a little kid's level. The art is irresistible, from the soft pastel tones of Myrtle's world to the bright African dress and masks of Aunt Tizzy. It' not always easy for kids to articulate their emotions, especially fear, but this story helps draw them out in Myrtle, and should do the same for readers.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about their own experiences of bullying, and what they think would be the most effective strategies to deal with it. Would you let a grown-up know if it was happening to you?

  • Eight-year-olds (on the high end of the age range for this book) may have some experience online and may have heard about cyberbullying. Could the kind of bullying that Myrtle experiences -- like when Frances sings mean songs about her -- happen to a person on the computer? Do you think that would hurt just as much?

  • Aunt Tizzy has Myrtle and her little brother put on African masks to help them deal with their fearful feelings and start to feel brave again. How does putting on a mask or a costume help you express emotions? Is it easier to feel brave when you are in a scary costume?

Book details

Author:Tracey Campbell Pearson
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:March 1, 2004
Number of pages:32
Publisher's recommended age(s):4 - 8

This review of Myrtle was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

Top advice and articles

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?