Simon and the Big, Bad, Angry Beasts: A Book about Anger

illus. by Ian De Haes. 40p. Flyaway Bks. Apr. 2018. Tr $16.00. ISBN 9780664263553.
PreS-Gr 1—When Simon is sent to his room for drawing on the wall, he bangs on his door in frustration. Much to his surprise, an angry ram shows up to help him thrash on the door more effectively. Page by page, Simon's anger grows from angry ram, to a disgruntled rhino, and finally to a vicious dragon. Though it's effective to see Simon's anger slowly build like this throughout the book, the ending feels a little rushed. After some breathing and meditation, his dragon explodes into butterflies, and the children want to play with him again. It would have been nice to have Simon slowly and realistically de-escalate, coming up with a few strategies for what he can do differently when he gets frustrated again. Luckily, there's a terrific guide at the end of the book that includes some great activities to do and questions to ask children, as well as a section for adults on modeling appropriate behavior. Illustrations are adorable and lighthearted, often taking up the full page, making them ideal for sharing situations. The facial expressions of each character reacting to Simon's angry monsters will easily lend itself to a great discussion about anger and people's responses to it.
VERDICT A warm and up-to-date book on emotions for most picture book and SEL collections.

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