Doodles and Drafts – Blog Tour with Alison Reynolds

Writing a book about bullying or indeed, attempting to instill relevant social life issues into an entertaining format for kids, is always tricky to perfect. Alison Reynolds has managed to pull off this feat of meaningful storytelling with her captivating picture book series, Pickle and Bree’s Guide to Good Deeds. You can read Romi’s review of these two new titles, here.

Today she joins us briefly at the Draft Table to discuss just how she tackled the dicey subject of bullying with The Playground Meanies. This episode with Pickle and Bree is one of my favourites as we are reintroduced to Jason, the big footed, kind-hearted panda whose good deed not only saves the day but opens the pathways to friendship in a way very young children can’t help but connect with.

The Big Snow Adventure is even more impressive. I love how the notion of following rules, for your own good and the good of others is gently reinforced with an exciting snow-bound adventure and no broken legs! Divinely illustrated by Mikki Butterley, these books are a boon to collect with characters that keep reappearing, thus forming a comforting alliance with readers whilst subtly addressing many of the issues kids are bombarded with in their early years.

Now, here’s Alison’s story!

In the series PICKLE AND BREE’S GUIDE TO GOOD DEEDS, we explore social etiquette and positive behaviour. Each book deals with a different concept, for example THE BIG SNOW ADVENTURE is about the importance of obeying rules, not just because of safety aspects but because not obeying rules can spoil other people’s enjoyment.

The editor suggested one book cover bullying. Bullying is such an emotive word. We all know it’s wrong, but I wondered how does it actually arise. Why do the bullies bully, and what can the bullied person or in the case of THE PLAYGROUND MEANIES, bullied bear do about it?

Some forms of bullying can be quite insidious and not the stereotypical  physical hitting or stealing of the school lunch. In THE PLAYGROUND MEANIES, the bullies are two small sized bears bullying the much larger bear, Jason. The bullies tease Jason and Pickle by saying they have huge clown’s feet. Confident Pickle is puzzled and replies that he does have big feet, but he needs big feet because he’s a big bear. Pickle is quite happy for his big feet to be pointed out by the bullies.

The more sensitive Jason is upset. He doesn’t want to be made to feel as if there is something wrong with him. The bullies sense that he is upset and continue to tease him. Jason is unable to ignore them and the bullying escalates. The loyal Pickle upset over Jason’s sadness decides to be “mean” back. Eventually, the bullies or meanies realise that they were actually making Jason very sad and Pickle learns that if he’s mean then he is as bad as the bullies.

Nobody deserves to be bullied, and I wrote this book trying to encourage the reader to think about being kind and empathetic to other people.

Each book in the series has a final page of Pickle and Bree’s handy hints. Writing this for THE PLAYGROUND MEANIES took me hours. It’s hard to condense lots of information about how to deal with bullying in one page.

Here are Pickle and Bree’s handy hints on being kind:

  • Pickle and Bree always try to be kind — but sometimes, people are not kind in return.
  • Pickle and Bree have to work hard to remember that being mean is never the answer.

Here are Pickle and Bree’s tips on being kind:

  • Sometimes, a person might not realize that they are making you sad. Try to tell them how you feel. But if they don’t want to listen, then walk away and find someone who will treat you with respect.
  • Some people, for whatever reason, just don’t want to be nice. It is ok to walk away when someone is mean to you.
  • Tell an adult if someone is being unkind. They can often help, but if they can’t, keep telling other adults until you find somebody who will help you.
  • Sometimes, a bully’s only goal is to see that they have made you sad. It’s not always easy to ignore them, but if they don’t think they are succeeding, they may give up.
  • Remember, it is not your fault if someone is unkind to you. Nobody has the right to make you feel bad about yourself. You are okay just the way you are!

It is beautiful, sage advice all cloaked in truly appealing story and pictures. Thanks, Alison!

To celebrate the release of the latest two books in the award nominated Pickle & Bree series, The Playground Meanies & The Big Snow Adventure, you can join in on Alison’s Blog Tour. Simply follow the tour via the dates below for a chance to win some fantastic prizes.


13/2/17 Boomerang Books    &    Pass-it-on Jackie Hosking

14/2/17 Creative Kids Tales

15/2/17 Buzz Words Di Bates

16/2/17 Aussie Reviews

17/2/17 Just Write for Kids   &    Julie Grasso


Just leave a comment on any of the posts in the blog tour, comment on Facebook or twitter or even email [email protected]  to win a copy of The Playground Meanies or The Big Snow Adventure.


Win an opportunity for a children’s editor at The Five Mile Press to look at your picture book submission (strictly 500 words or less). Just comment on any of the posts in the blog tour and add initials JSP.


Win a free picture book assessment by the author Alison Reynolds. Just comment on any of the posts in the blog tour and add the initials PB.

Remember the more you comment, the more chances you have to win.


Win a print of Mikki Butterley’s fabulous artwork from one of these two books. Just send a photo or drawing of your favourite teddy to [email protected] or upload to or Twitter @AlisonReynoldsa

Competitions close March 24th and winners to be announced and contacted by March 31st.

The Pickle and Bree series is available now, here.

The Five Mile Press February 2017

Published by

Dimity Powell

Dimity Powell likes to fill every spare moment with words. She writes and reviews stories exclusively for kids and is the Managing Editor for Kids’ Book Review. Her word webs appear in anthologies, school magazines, junior novels, as creative digital content, and picture books - you'll find them all here at Boomerang Books. Dimity is a useless tweeter, sensational pasta maker and semi-professional chook wrangler. She believes picture books are food for the soul and should be consumed at least 10 times a week.

43 thoughts on “Doodles and Drafts – Blog Tour with Alison Reynolds”

    1. Thanks, Kaye. I think “we are fine just the way we are” is a good reminder for everybody, just not little kids. Happy that you enjoyed the post! Remember the more you comment on the different posts, the more chances you have in the prize draw.

  1. JSP I got to review the first two Pickle and Bree books for Reading Time – I loved them. These next two look just as fabulous, and I’m impressed that Alison has tackled such a difficult subject as bullying – well done!

  2. Hi,
    I really enjoyed reading the information you have on the blog re bullying and how to write this type of book. I am currently working on my first PB (for older readers) and it tackles and also a has a child with a disability.
    Thank you for the information 🙂

  3. JSP These books look amazing, Alison! Pickle and Bree are such important characters for kids. I’m currently trying to teach my three year old about kindness to others (including her younger sister), and I’m looking forward to introducing her to The Playground Meanies and the others in the series, too.

  4. Thanks, Alison for sharing how you asked the ‘why’ question in regards to bullying to come up with Playground Meanies. I love Pickle and Bree’s tips on being kind. You have a wonderful way of wrapping great advice within the telling a wonderful story. PB.

  5. JSP Well done Alison, this series looks fantastic. I find it really refreshing to read about a series of picture books too – not something that we see all that often, since most are stand-alone books.

  6. What a great idea to have a blog tour to promote your new books in the series, Alison. Thanks for asking us to take part and comment. Bullying in an important subject to address and quite an art to write about it in a sensitive, meaningful way for children, I’d imagine. Well done. Good luck with your blog tour. JSP

    1. Thanks Brydie. I love getting out and about on a blog tour. It was interesting writing about bullying as I realised that different people have different views on what bullying is

  7. I love PBs that reflect real-life situations kids face, but in a non-lecturey way (enter – Pickle and Bree!). Charming illustrations, engaging stories and ideas on kindness make this series a winner. JSP.

    1. That’s lovely of you Liz. It is a challenge to tackle real life issues in a fun way. Mikki Butterley’s illustrations are fabulous. She can illustrate whatever whacky situation I think up.

  8. Playground meanies make me sad too. Poor Jason. I like that you show that it is the response to the bullies that either gives them power or removes it completely.

  9. It is a matter of confidence. We need to be building our children up, encouraging them that, as you say, they are okay just the way they are. JSP

    1. Agree with you totally, Zoe. Bullying is very much about power and if you can refuse to give the bullies power over you, often it just fizzles out. But it is a hard story to learn.

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