TODAY I FEEL... by Madalena Moniz


An Alphabet of Emotions
by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 8
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An alphabet book about feelings.

For such a conceptual enterprise, the visual expressions have to be direct and convincing. The design of this subtle and sophisticated ABC doesn’t quite meet that challenge. The two-page spreads place one, and only one, word on the verso along with a capital representation of the letter that is created fancifully in a way that coordinates with the illustration on the recto. The only element that binds the book together is the same white child posing in the center of action or activity, experiencing what the depiction of the letter suggests. “E / Excited” shows a large E made of two folded blue-striped mufflers opposite a back view of the child’s head with arms spread looking at large snowflakes. “G / Grumpy” fills the shape of the letter with blue tiles, while the child is shown standing under a showerhead, arms crossed. (“Grumpy” is a bit of a stretch for the child’s fairly neutral expression; some readers may simply see “wet.”) Letter L is made up of red balloons, while opposite, the child is lifted up with a bundle of the same balloons. Many of the feelings presented are unusual, and some are, on the face of it, not feelings at all: “Brilliant,” “Mini,” “Original,” “Relaxed,” “Quiet,” “Tall.” For some letters, Moniz (or the uncredited translator) doesn’t even seem to try, as with “Z / Zzzz.” The watercolor-and–India ink illustrations are stylish, plentiful use of white space keeping the pages looking clean.

Kids are not likely to get the relationships between feelings and representations on their own, but adults may find ways to use the book to draw out their emotions. (Alphabet book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 28th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-4197-2324-7
Page count: 64pp
Publisher: abramsappleseed
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2017


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