In a self-help graphic novel, angry Ernie, called “Erupto” by his friends, receives some counseling on anger management.
Middle-schooler Ernie has serious anger-management issues. Many things set him off: Unfairness during a pick-up basketball game with friends, teasing at school and his parents’ attempts to find out about his day all trigger volcanic temper tantrums. After causing a small fire in his science class during an emotional meltdown, he is sent to the school counselor, who offers him—and readers—not only some specific, useful strategies for controlling anger as it emerges, but also advice on “unloading your emotional load,” in order to live more calmly. These ideas are far more comprehensive than the usual “take a deep breath and count to 10” advice and include opportunities for practice during calmer times. Although Ernie’s sister and a good friend, Jack, are depicted making efforts to calm him, and Ernie obviously experiences guilt over his outbursts, character development is scant. Black-and-white artwork is average; facial features of different characters vary little, making them hard to distinguish from each other.
The graphic-novel format and very brief text, followed by a longer section of more in-depth information on anger, is likely to make this effort an easy sell to young teen readers. (Self-help graphic novel. 9-15)