This might be more of a lesson to adults to examine word choices than a tool for children about anger management.


A picture book paints Tiger’s temper literally, as a frowning little red ball of flame.

Little Tiger’s temper has spiky hair, black eyes, and a frowny mouth and is shaped like a little ball of fire. Looking rather like a plush toy, it does not seem mean-spirited or intimidating. Yet this visual depiction of a feeling is never far from Tiger, mimicking his yelling and stomping. When Mama says “You had better hold your temper, Tiger,” he considers his choices. What does it mean to hold your temper? Where should he hold it? The book hinges on wordplay that seems more sophisticated than its target audience. When Tiger grabs hold of the ball of temper, both seem confused, a feeling little listeners will probably share. Rashin’s illustrations, while vibrant and engaging, have adult connotations that may raise eyebrows. A bellicose Tiger wields a bat in anger at his mother. In a strategy obviously meant to be humorous, the temper is shoved into Tiger’s underpants. The realistic acknowledgment of children’s anger is appreciated but possibly misplaced, as the one-liner play on words of “holding your temper” never explains its metaphor. The book closes with this unsatisfying sentiment after Tiger roars his anger into his baseball cap: “Don’t worry. I’ll never lose my temper again. I know exactly where it is.”

This might be more of a lesson to adults to examine word choices than a tool for children about anger management. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7358-4274-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.


All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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Hee haw.

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The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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