Coloring the Monster

Coloring the Monster

The Color Monster by Anna Llenas

The Color Monster: A Pop-up Book of Feelings (published in 2015) is the perfect book for me to review right now, and not just because I love pop-up books.  Why?  Because there's been an outpouring of emotions in our house from all three girls.  (That includes me.  Mr Bookworm is pretty solid.)

In truth, during my last trip to Barnes and Noble, I wanted to buy ALL the books.  I settled for ones that my kids could relate to right now, but I did read through a bunch of the emotion-related ones.  (Read: I went through the children's 'self-help' section.)  See below.  And, I've been eyeing The Color Monster for quite some time so I thought it was the perfect day to purchase it. 

The Color Monster is a great interactive book for the little ones who are going through mixed-up emotions.  And, as I've said before, they are ALL going through mixed-up emotions and they are ALL emotional and moody at times.  What I like about the book is that it helps sort out the different types of feelings a person may be going through by distilling them into colors.  Life is not so simple, but it's a perfect analogy for (mature) two year olds and sometimes not so mature six year olds.  Not that I know any or have one that lives in my house. 

Sometimes Little Lion gets a little overwhelmed.  (As do I! And Mini Me too!)  And when she gets overwhelmed, it can be challenging to sort out what exactly is going on.  I think the different color emotions and color jars may help sort out those feelings and help her relate.  The paper engineering is fabulous in this book.  My only complaint is that it's a bit too short--we go through a rainbow of colors but I want more of a resolution or story arc.  And the drawings are simple.  But sometimes a simple story with simple drawings with a great message are the perfect thing to read through and discuss with your emotional little ones.  And sometimes it's just fun to read a book together. 

 Our little bookworm taking a nap with the calm monster.  Above thumbnail shows LL holding  The Color Monster  while wearing her colorful dress, very indicative of her sometimes mixed-up emotions.

Our little bookworm taking a nap with the calm monster.  Above thumbnail shows LL holding The Color Monster while wearing her colorful dress, very indicative of her sometimes mixed-up emotions.

Little Lion Bookworm Review: Buy it! I like all the feelings.  I really like the last page.

Mini-Me Bookworm Review: I think that this book is really imaginative, especially the 'sadness' page, where threads of yarn represent rain. Definitely buy it if your kids have emotional issues or are feeling mixed up. 

Rating: This one can go up and down on the shelves for me.  As I said above, I love the concept and I love books with paper engineering, but I felt the book had room for improvement.  So if you're having emotional littles, I think you can place this one on the lowest shelf.  But if you're having calm littles (or TOO emotional littles), then place it in the middle because the too emotional ones might tear it up. 

Age: Terrible twos on up.  But only if your terrible two little one won't tear apart the pop-ups.  By the way, the 'terrible two's start early--around 18 months.  So I'd say mature toddlers on up.

Other Tantrum/Mood related books:

I'm still looking for some perfect books and I love the first two listed below.  Some of the other ones listed have very good messages and concepts but I'm not crazy about the delivery of either the story line or the illustrations.  I asked several other pediatricians about books they'd recommend for tantrums and moods and many answered 1-2-3 Magic.  It's a book for the grown-ups.  I'm in the process of reading it and will review it here when I'm done. 

No Hitting! by Karen Katz: This book is a lift-the-flap book with different options for a toddler to do with their urges.  For example, you can lick a fruit pop instead of sticking out your tongue at someone.  Or bang on your drums instead of hitting someone or destroying something.  Brilliant!  We own this one but I can't find it among our mess....

Sourpuss and Sweetie Pie by Norton Juster and illustrated by Chris Raschka: This book features the same duo who did The Hello, Goodbye Window and is touted as a sequel, however, it focuses more on the duality of being sweet and sour all rolled up into one child.  I think children can relate to the outbursts of feelings and the illustrations are beautiful, just like in The Hello, Goodbye Window, which won the 2006 Caldecott medal.  We own this one. (Side note: I don't know why I just realized that this is the Norton Juster who wrote The Phantom Tollbooth too! At least I have a good excuse; after all, Norton Juster is a very common name....)

My Mouth is a Volcano by Julia Cook and illustrated by Carrie Hartman: This one has a good concept but I'll admit that I'm not a fan of its execution.  I'm pretty sure that Little Lion's kindergarten teacher read this one to them a lot because all last year they talked about mouth volcanos.  It's a good book to read for someone who is impulsive in talking and can't wait their turn or raise their hand in class to participate.  (Pretty much, all preschoolers.) I'm just not a fan of the illustrations. 

Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud and illustrated by David Messing.  Little Lion's class has been filling each other's buckets with various compliments for each other.  Little Lion loves to bring home her Friday folder and read out loud what her teachers or classmates have praised her for that week.  I'm assuming the concept came from this series of books and it's a great concept for friendships and self-esteem and positive reinforcement.  Again, I read through this one once and while I'm not a fan of the execution, the concept and idea behind it are brilliant.

The Feelings Book: The Care and Keeping of Your Emotions by Dr. Lynda Madison and illustrated by Josee Masse (The American Girls series): I'm a huge fan of this one for your moody pre-teens.  There are different ways of describing why/how we can feel overwhelmed especially as there may be many physical, hormonal, and social changes going on.  I also love their use of a 'thermometer' or feelings meter to gauge how you're feeling. 

The Dichotomy (Trichotomy) of Me

The Dichotomy (Trichotomy) of Me

Dress-Up and Imaginative Play

Dress-Up and Imaginative Play