Author: Barbara Bottner

Summary: A little girl dreads when her mother’s friend comes to visit because she always brings her daughter Bootsie Barker. Although Bootsie looks sweet in her frilly pink dress, as soon as the adults are out of the room she only wants to play games in which she bites. One day, the little girl comes up with a better game.

WITS Connection: Talk it out, Seek help

pdf For WITS Lesson Plan Click Here

Learning Outcomes

Select your province to see learning outcomes for this lesson.

Questions and Activities


  1. What do you think this book is about?
  2. Have you ever played with someone who wanted to be the boss? How did that make you feel?
  3. Why do you think Bootsie Barker bites?


  1. When does Bootsie Barker like to bite? When they are playing alone.
  2. Why did Bootsie Barker choose to be bossy?
  3. How did the other child feel?
  4. When did the protagonist get help? When she told her mother what she specifically didn’t like about Bootsie Barker’s behaviour.
  5. When did Bootsie’s behaviour change? When the protagonist stood up to Bootsie.
  6. What can friends do to help each other when someone is being bossy?


  • Have students draw a picture of a time when they experienced dealing with a bossy friend. If students choose not to share a personal experience, suggest they draw the conflict from the story.
  • Have students act out the part of the story where the friend faces Bootsie and says, “I am not a worm, I am a paleontologist.” Allow students to fill in a word other than “paleontologist” that would be a constructive response.