Lessons in dealing with sadness and offering compassion dominate this picture book.
Erik is playing at the water table, acting like a magician as he mixes blue and yellow water to make green. When his sleeves get wet, he becomes upset, and feeling overwhelmed by his emotions, he starts to think about other things that make him sad—namely, balloons popping and scary dreams. Bereft, he shows his teacher, Regina, his sodden sleeve, and in this image readers first see that he uses a wheelchair. Regina validates Erik’s sadness and offers to get him a new shirt, but as she walks away, he notices that his shoe is wet, too, and this causes further distress. Then a little girl named Rita comes to help him clean up the water on the floor, in the process helping him feel better. Their play transforms the splashed water into a source of fun, and it also affords Erik the opportunity to slide himself out of his chair to the floor. This everyday grappling with emotions is enriched by the matter-of-fact diversity of the characters, but the story itself doesn’t hold much excitement or appeal. Cartoonish art largely reiterates the text, doing little to enhance its storytelling.
A book more about feelings than story. (Picture book. 3-5)