The Color Monster: A Story About Emotions

tr. from Spanish. illus. by Anna Llenas. 40p. Little, Brown. Sept. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780316450010.
PreS-Gr 3—In this Spanish import, children can learn to compartmentalize feelings through colors. Multihued Color Monster "woke up feeling confused, and he doesn't know why." His friend, a young girl, helps detangle his jumbled-up feelings by having him separate each one into its own color jar. She explains, how happiness "shines yellow like the sun," where sadness "is lonely and blue like a rainy day." She extrapolates on each explored feeling with examples such as "When you are calm, you breathe deeply. You feel at peace." With a background in art therapy, Llenas finds an approachable way for kids to identify feelings, and allows for the understanding that one can have many emotions at once. Color Monster never goes into why he is feeling a certain emotion, allowing space for readers to attach personal meaning to their own emotions and feelings. It also shows kids it is okay to cry when you feel sad, and how sometimes naming a feeling and separating it from another feeling is enough. Llenas's use of watercolor, pastels, and collage on a variety of styles of papers and cardboard has a three-dimensional aspect, enveloping readers into each world of feeling. The book's open ending shows Color Monster experiencing a new feeling, allowing for extrapolation and further conversations.
VERDICT A great guide and conversation starter for one-on-one, storytime, or early elementary and SEL classrooms.

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