Young Sam absorbs easy-peasy strategies for coping with anger issues to kick off a second quartet of openly therapeutic titles in the Our Emotions and Behavior series.
Fits of rage having escalated into a physical attack at a birthday party, Sam is towed off for a timeout by his aunt, who advises him to take a deep breath, count to 10 and think of alternatives to acting out. Sam apologizes to his peers and passes a later test of equanimity with flying colors. Likewise, in Take a Deep Breath (978-1-57542-446-0), Ruby, Andy and other children (plus a teacher, on whom a spider suddenly lands) exhale stage fright and other anxieties away. Daisy’s anxieties about a household move are dispelled by her grandpa’s advice to be more optimistic in But What If? (978-1-57542-444-6). And in I Didn’t Do It! (978-1-57542-445-3), apologies and remedial action help Polly mend fences with her alienated friends after she lies about who’s at fault for a series of mishaps. Each story ends with a whiplash-inducing final spread with an unrelated episode illustrated in a slightly different cartoon style about some other childhood crisis overcome. A closing page of discussion topics signals that these may look like fodder for newly independent readers, but they’re really meant to be shared.
Functional, in the most limited sense of the term. (Early reader/bibliotherapy. 5-7)