The story begins with an introduction to Wally the beaver as being “a bully” whose head was
constantly filled with harmful thoughts toward others. He stole lunches and hoarded crayons from other classmates. Everyone wanted Wally to go away. When Freya the red fox wrote a book, it disappeared, and everyone suspected Wally. Faced with anger from the group of animals, Wally ran deeper into the forest.
Freya went after Wally and found sadness in the latter’s eyes. She talked to Wally kindly. Wally told her about troubles in his home, how he felt scared and alone. By the end of this conversation, Wally’s sadness and anger were gone. They began re-assembling the book by adding Wally’s own drawings. Freya presented all friends of the forest with the new, collaborative book. To the animals, Wally became an artist and not a bully to be feared.
The book ends with a beautiful line: “There is always much more to people than we see. Beautiful things happen when we practice empathy.”
This book tells a simple story about making space for even those who have done harm in the community. Even these individuals deserve a chance to share their fears and restore peace. Children will learn values of empathy, caring, inclusion and the importance of making reparations and repairs. (Skyhorse/Good Books)