This might be more of a lesson to adults to examine word choices than a tool for children about anger management.



A picture book paints Tiger’s temper literally, as a frowning little red ball of flame.

Little Tiger’s temper has spiky hair, black eyes, and a frowny mouth and is shaped like a little ball of fire. Looking rather like a plush toy, it does not seem mean-spirited or intimidating. Yet this visual depiction of a feeling is never far from Tiger, mimicking his yelling and stomping. When Mama says “You had better hold your temper, Tiger,” he considers his choices. What does it mean to hold your temper? Where should he hold it? The book hinges on wordplay that seems more sophisticated than its target audience. When Tiger grabs hold of the ball of temper, both seem confused, a feeling little listeners will probably share. Rashin’s illustrations, while vibrant and engaging, have adult connotations that may raise eyebrows. A bellicose Tiger wields a bat in anger at his mother. In a strategy obviously meant to be humorous, the temper is shoved into Tiger’s underpants. The realistic acknowledgment of children’s anger is appreciated but possibly misplaced, as the one-liner play on words of “holding your temper” never explains its metaphor. The book closes with this unsatisfying sentiment after Tiger roars his anger into his baseball cap: “Don’t worry. I’ll never lose my temper again. I know exactly where it is.”

This might be more of a lesson to adults to examine word choices than a tool for children about anger management. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7358-4274-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends


From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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