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)