Thursday, July 24, 2014

Review: When Sophie Gets Angry – Really, Really Angry…

When Sophie Gets Angry – Really, Really Angry… by Molly Bang, The Blue Sky Press (1999).

2000 Charlotte Zolotow Award Winner

Sophie is a little girl happily playing with a stuffed monkey when her big sister comes along and tells her that it is her turn to play with the toy. When her mother tells her that it is sister’s time to play with the toy and the big sister snatches the toy away, Sophie gets angry. She yells and throws a tantrum. She is so angry she runs and runs, and cries. In the woods she begins to notice the trees and birds singing. She climbs into a tree and feels the breeze in her hair. She finds comfort, calms down, and returns home where it is warm and cozy.

This book is full of lively color – in both writing and illustration. Sophie yells a red roar and almost explodes like a volcano, and the illustrations fit the emotions perfectly.

Every parent who’s seen a temper tantrum will relate to this book. For many parents, a child's tantrum makes us angry and frustrated as well. For Sophie, she is able to deal with the anger -- to find a solution in herself, which is what we hope as parents our children will learn to do.

Since I grew up near a creek with woods, I can relate to running there and finding solace. You can be alone and (hopefully) discover when something you thought was a big issue is not worth being angry about. My only concern is Sophie's running away. For some kids, there may not be a safe place to do that.

Children will relate to this book because they are learning to deal with emotions, and they will see themselves, and perhaps siblings and friends, in Sophie's experience.

When Sophie Gets Angry allows parents to talk to their children about dealing with anger. We all face anger issues from time to time. If we can learn to resolve our anger within ourselves that is a good thing. Maybe someday we can even learn to control that initial outburst of anger and not have to scream a red, red roar.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Molly Garrett Bang was born in 1943 and grew up in Baltimore. She graduated from Wellesley with a degree in French and went to Japan to teach English. She served a stint as a reporter but turned to children’s books and had her first book The Goblins Giggle, and Other Stories published by Scribner in 1973 (as author and illustrator). She’s written and illustrated two dozen books and is the illustrator on more than another dozen. Molly is the recipient of many awards including three Caldecott Honor Books for  The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher (1981), Ten, Nine, Eight (1983) and Sophie (2000). One of her most recent awards is The Lucy Daniels Award for "outstanding contributions to children's literature that supports social and emotional health" in 2011.

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