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SOMETIMES I’M BOMBALOO by Rachel Vail Kirkus Star


by Rachel Vail & illustrated by Yumi Heo

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: March 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-439-08755-4
Publisher: Scholastic

A keen-eyed view on the evolution and eruption of a child’s tantrum and its aftermath. Perky Katie Honors proudly catalogues her accomplishments: brushing her teeth, employing pristine table manners, putting her toys away, and so forth. Often, she reports, Katie handles her younger brother’s destruction of her carefully erected castles with grace and dignity. However, there are days when she loses her aplomb, and that’s when Bombaloo emerges. In her Bombaloo mode, Katie bursts forth like an avenging Fury. It takes a comic moment to restore her poise and oust the Bombaloo. Sympathetically acknowledging how a loss of control can be scary for a child, Vail (Not That I Care, 1999, etc.) does a superb job of portraying a tantrum in full force even while tempering the angst with strategic guidelines for quelling the Bombaloo that lurks within. In the midst of her wrath, Katie amusingly parrots an adult voice with the inclusion of such p.c. phrases as “I can come out when I’m ready to control myself and say I’m sorry.” A bit problematic are some of the descriptions of Katie’s outburst, which can be fairly edgy for a younger audience. “I use my feet and my fists instead of my words. My toys end up all over the floor and so does my brother.” Heo’s (Henry’s First-Moon Birthday, 2001, etc.) intensely colorful, gloriously outlandish illustrations are a perfect match for Vail’s text. Changes in perspective, spot images strewn over the pages, and slashes of energy emanating from fists and face mirror Katie’s turbulent emotions while their over-the-top quality diffuses some of the tension aroused by the tale. An honest and understanding appraisal of tantrums from the child’s perspective. (Picture book. 4-7)