Another offering for the emotional intelligence shelf.


From the Inglés series

What should a child do with strong feelings?

Years ago, Molly Bang modeled a child finding peace in nature in When Sophie Gets Angry—Really, Really Angry… (1999), but some readers have complained that Sophie was running away from her problems. More recently, in The Color Monster (2018), Anna Llenas recommended sorting emotions into jars of different colors. Italian bookseller Alvisi’s protagonist Berta follows that latter path. She tidies up regularly, sorts her toys by color, and uses red, yellow, green, and blue boxes to contain her strong feelings. Grown-ups admire her good behavior. But that technique is not enough when someone at school calls her a “red gloop monstreepy” and adults in her life are too distracted to offer sympathy. She tries to calm down with a puzzle, but a missing piece is the last straw. In a frenzy, she mixes all her puzzles together into one—creating a terrible and wonderful monstreepy of her own. In what may be something of a leap for a young audience, she changes her ways, loosens up, and learns to talk about her feelings instead of putting them in boxes. When she’s upset, she can draw, trace, cut, and glue some “magnificent monsters.” Making art helps. Graux depicts Berta and her parents as White, but there are some background characters of color; her color choices support Berta’s changing moods. Ross’ translation is smooth, but it’s unclear whether that is from the original Italian or the Madrid-based publisher’s co-publishing Spanish edition, Las cajas de Berta.

Another offering for the emotional intelligence shelf. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-84-18133-19-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: nubeOCHO

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught...


A child struggles with the worry and anxiety that come with an unexpected problem.

In a wonderful balance of text and pictures, the team responsible for What Do You Do With an Idea (2014) returns with another book inspiring children to feel good about themselves. A child frets about a problem that won’t go away: “I wished it would just disappear. I tried everything I could to hide from it. I even found ways to disguise myself. But it still found me.” The spare, direct narrative is accompanied by soft gray illustrations in pencil and watercolor. The sepia-toned figure of the child is set apart from the background and surrounded by lots of white space, visually isolating the problem, which is depicted as a purple storm cloud looming overhead. Color is added bit by bit as the storm cloud grows and its color becomes more saturated. With a backpack and umbrella, the child tries to escape the problem while the storm swirls, awash with compass points scattered across the pages. The pages brighten into splashes of yellow as the child decides to tackle the problem head-on and finds that it holds promise for unlooked-for opportunity.

A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught situations, this belongs on the shelf alongside Molly Bang’s Sophie books. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-943-20000-9

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

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This simple and sincere tale of working up courage to face fears makes quite a splash.


Young Jabari decides today is the day he is going to jump from the diving board, even though it’s a little high and a little scary.

Jabari’s father and baby sister accompany him to the swimming pool in the city, where Jabari has already made up his mind about today’s goal: jumping off the diving board. “I’m a great jumper,” he says, “so I’m not scared at all.” But that’s not entirely true. Readers see Jabari play the waiting game as the other children (a diverse bunch) make their ways past him in line. Once Jabari finally begins to climb up, he slyly remembers that he forgot to “stretch.” The stalling techniques don’t faze his dad, who sees an opportunity for a life lesson. “It’s okay to feel a little scared,” offers his dad at the side of the pool. With renewed will, Jabari returns to the towering diving board, ready to embrace the feat. In her debut, Cornwall places her loving black family at the center, coloring the swimming pool and park beyond in minty hues and adding whimsy with digitally collaged newspaper for skyscrapers. A bird’s-eye view of Jabari’s toes clinging to the edge of the diving board as he looks way, way down at the blue pool below puts readers in his head and in the action.

This simple and sincere tale of working up courage to face fears makes quite a splash. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 9, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7838-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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