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Literature / Big Bad Bruce

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Big Bad Bruce is a 1977 children's storybook by Bill Peet.

An enormous brown bear called Bruce moves into the forest, and quickly begins causing trouble for everything in it. However, he bites off more than he can chew when he irritates Roxy, the local witch.

This book contains examples of the following tropes:

  • All Witches Have Cats: Roxy the witch has a cat, which makes sense as she's noted to have a great fondness for animals. The cat acts normally, but seems smart enough to understand her speech.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Bruce isn't troublesome when he's busy looking for things to eat — but when he's in a mischievous mood, his great strength allows him to scare the living daylights out of every other creature in the forest easily. He especially likes to bounce boulders downhill, frightening the creatures in the brush.
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  • Book Ends: Near the beginning of the story, Bruce flips boulders down slopes to scare the other animals. At the end, he flips pebbles to scare the bugs in Roxy's garden.
  • The Dog Bites Back: The animals Bruce tormented when he was big try to get their own back after he shrinks.
  • Giant Foot of Stomping: A downplayed version; the rabbits' feet aren't exactly giant from Bruce's point of view, but they're big enough that he runs to avoid being stomped by them.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: Bruce shrinks down to chipmunk size thanks to eating an enchanted pie.
  • Just in Time: Roxy turns up looking for Bruce just before an owl would have swooped down and grabbed him.
  • Karmic Transformation: Roxy cooks up the pie that shrinks Bruce after he nearly flattens her and her cat during one of his boulder-bouncing sprees and laughs in her face when she scolds him about it. Once he no longer has his size, Bruce runs into a lot of trouble from the animals he used to torment.