In a challenge to tales in which children rise in the air when elated, Eric and his toddler sister, Alice, both float upward when “very angry.” Happiness literally re-grounds them.
The turf is familiar enough at the opening double-page spread: a nuclear family inside their domicile on a rainy day, with Eric happily pushing a train along railroad tracks and Alice approaching him with her toy bunny. It’s all clearly happened before. Alice pesters Eric, then Eric is blamed for upsetting Alice. This leads to Eric’s angry elevation and eventual entrapment in a tree. There are pleasing, unexpected touches: Their mom reads the newspaper while their dad irons; the paper has metafictive headlines referring to both this book and another by the author; there is an excellent aerial view of the room from Eric’s new perspective. Throughout, a combination of watercolor, collage and stark pencil lines complement a text that combines simple sentences in a sans-serif typeface with additional penned-in words, as in a series of “AARGH”s that follow a simultaneous succession of angry Erics slowly losing gravity. The story ends in a sweet sibling reunion, as Eric restores to Alice her beloved bunny. Although this book has much to offer, the darkly scrawled marks that represent facial expressions are often grotesque; furious, jagged mouths express the children’s anger.
Sturdy children, particularly those with siblings, will respond to the starkness of emotions expressed. (Picture book. 3-6)