Young Simon is thrilled to discover that his tantrums create a series of raging, scary beasts in this Belgian import.
Simon understandably loves the feeling that it “was great, it was marvelous, it was magical” to have, for instance, an alligator to chase playmates away after he loses a game, a rhino to menace his mom for ordering him to finish his soup, and a charging ram to knock his dad down after being sent to his room. These feelings undergo a change at last after he realizes that no one wants to interact with him anymore. Worse yet, the fiery dragon that appears for no particular reason won’t go away—until he turns it into butterflies by just sitting quietly and calming down. The book’s instructive mission should be clear enough from the context and subtitle, but to drive it home there’s a hefty appendix with advice for caregivers. Views of Simon dishing out physical abuse to his parents, even if by proxy, skate close to the edge of the comfort zone, but De Haes gives the beasts comical as well as choleric looks that should allow readers to maintain a certain distance. Some dark-skinned members of Simon’s peer group add diversity to the otherwise all-white cast.
The anger-management shelves are well-stocked, but this makes a serviceable addition, with value added for caregivers seeking advice. (Picture book. 5-8)