Angry Cookie, by Laura Dockrill/Illustrated Maria Karipidou, (March 2019, Candlewick Press), $16.99, ISBN: 9781536205442
Angry Cookie is NOT having a good day. From the first page, he’s mad and he wants readers to know it, calling the reader a nosy noodle and complaining about his annoying roommate, running out of his favorite toothpaste, getting a bad haircut, and having the ice cream parlor run out of his favorite sundae. He’s really, really mad, and there’s nothing you can do about it, you hear? But… once he realizes that the readers are sticking around, paying attention to him, he warms up a little, and lets us in on what’s really bugging him: no one listens to him. Nobody sticks around. Once Cookie realizes that he’s being heard, he softens up and even cracks a smile.
Angry Cookie zooms in on what we all really want: to be heard. And preschoolers, in particular, can relate to Cookie: they don’t want that burning, minty toothpaste, they want the fruity-flavored kind (this has been a HUGE issue in my own home), and they don’t want a stupid haircut, and heaven help us if a sibling is on his or her nerves or if a favorite snack isn’t available. Angry Cookie shows readers that it’s okay to be frustrated by things, and that someone is always there to listen. It’s a fun look at managing emotions, with laughs and snorts to be had along the way. The digital artwork is bright and bold, with all text communicated through word balloons and spoken by Cookie. Cookie is round and has a mop of wild red hair, blue overalls, and big, round eyes.
This is a good one for feelings and emotions collections, and a cute storytime pick. I’d pair with Claire Messer’s Grumpy Pants, The Bad Seed by Jory John, and – naturally – any of Mo Willems’ Pigeon books for a display or storytime on emotions and feelings.
If you’ve got kids, I hope by now you’ve introduced them to comic books. When I was a kid, kids’ comics meant Richie Rich, Casper, and Archie. Now? There are virtually hundreds of titles to get kids started on a love of graphic, sequential storytelling.
Toon Books is a great resource for parents and educators that want to get more graphic novels into their little ones’ lives. I have a pretty nice collection of Toon Books in my library, including Jeff Smith’s Little Mouse Gets Ready. You read that right – Bone’s Jeff Smith does comics for Toon. Quality creators making quality comics.
Today, though, I’m talking Benny and Penny, the brother and sister mouse series also published by Toon and written by Geoffrey Hayes, who also won a Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for the series back in 2010. The siblings’ newest adventure, Benny and Penny in Lost and Found, hits shelves on August 5th, and is an adorable addition to the series.
Read more of my review over at WhatchaReading and pre-order your copy of Benny and Penny in Lost and Found here!
Recommended for ages 3-6
Preschoolers often deal with moods that they don’t know how to control; many will associate with this young girl who wakes up in a bad mood on a rainy day. Her parents try to boost her mood, but she wants none of it, until she decides to stomp her bad mood away in the rain. Her parents join her, and the bad mood goes away. The watercolor and gouache art is perfect to convey the both the weather and the girl’s moods, going from angry and gray, like the rain, to happy and content, as the sun peeks through the clouds. The text curves around the art and gets larger for emphasis when the girl vents her anger. As she and her family hug, mood lifted, the text curves underneath them, allowing the reader to join in the hug.
This would be a good addition to a read-aloud on moods. There could be a discussion on what preschoolers do when they are angry, or sad, or happy. If they feel sad or mad, what makes them feel better? A good storytime craft would allow the children to draw a picture of how they deal with a bad mood, and they could receive a smiley face handstamp at the end of the storytime.
Recommended for ages 2-8
Do you feel silly? Safe? Shy? Saxton Freeman and Joost Elffers sculpted facial expressions into fruits and vegetables to communicate a wide range of emotions in How Are You Peeling? Fruits with Moods. Using an Exacto knife and natural materials like black-eyed peas and beet-juice coloring, the authors enhanced the natural wrinkles, bends and creases in produce to illustrate emotions. The sculptures, photographed against plain but colorful backgrounds, are large and vivid, allowing the youngest readers to easily identify the emotions depicted. Beginning with the opening question, “How are you feeling?”, the text goes on to asks questions that will provoke thought in listeners: “Feeling blue? Feeling bad? How are you when friends drop by? With someone new… a little shy?” The text is brightly colored and small, letting the produce’s expressions speak for them; this is a book meant to be read aloud and to prompt discussion. The New York Times Book Review voted How Are You Peeling? Best Illustrated Children’s Book in 1999.
The book lends itself to a read-aloud about feelings, where patrons can call out answers to the questions asked in the book and identify the emotions portrayed on the featured produce. Activities can include songs about feelings like “If You’re Happy and You Know It”, and craft ideas include a facial expressions printable to color, or, for older (3-4) participants, the chance to draw different expressions that answer the question, “How are you feeling?”