The Great Big Book of Feelings

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Author: Mary Hoffman

Illustrator: Ros Asquith

Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children

How this book might help: A child struggling with negative emotions may find great comfort in this sympathetic, entertaining and reassuring book which explores many different feelings: happy, sad, excited, bored, interested, angry, upset, calm, silly, lonely, scared, safe, embarrassed, shy, confident, worried, jealous and satisfied.

The book is presented in bite-size chunks of information which should hold the attention of a child well. It opens with the question: "How are you feeling today?", encouraging interaction between the adult reading the book and the child (or it could be read alone by an older child). The author and illustrator have used humour as well as sensitively addressing some serious subjects. The entertaining and quirky illustrations include plenty of scenes for a child to explore and enjoy. It is skilfully written to cover emotions from a child's point of view, while encouraging the reader to consider adult's feelings too. The book covers the full spectrum of feelings (eg, from small irritations that can lead to temporary sadness to the overpowering despair of bereavement) and recognises that people feel emotions in different ways and can react very differently. It touches upon the positive side of negative emotions (eg, anger can lead to a protest to bring about improvement) and offers suggestions to help neutralise negative feelings (eg, get rid of anger by punching a cushion, calming down by listening to relaxing music).

Reviewed by: Claire Ward-Dutton

Things we liked about this book: There is so much to like about this important picture book which tackles challenging subjects in such an entertaining way. Our six-year-old tester was completely absorbed, mentioning how nice it felt to know that other people have the same feelings as him. At the same time, the book also celebrates diversity, showing lots of different children in different situations, and feels very in tune with modern family lifestyles.

Age Range: 3+

Tags: anger, anxiety, bullying, comfort, death, depression, emotions, fears, friends, hitting, jealousy, loneliness, loss, persistence, phobias, prejudice, sadness, shyness, violence

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