Monday, September 15

10 Picture Books for the Tantrum Thrower

So the idea for this list comes directly from library patrons: I've had two patrons just in the last little while ask me what sort of pictures books were good for tantrum-throwing kids. Well, there's some good ones, folks, so here's a list of 10 favorites.

1. The Pigeon Needs a Bath!Written and illustrated by Mo Willems

If you're familiar with Willems' "Pigeon Books" at all, you'll know that any of them are good for the beggars and whiners in our lives. Plus they're super hilarious. In this, the newest Pigeon book, Willems has our favorite bird refusing to take a bath. You're imaging the smell and the dirt. He really doesn't need it. But man, when he finally decides to try out the water...well, he may love it a little too much. It's the sort of book that shows kids the benefits of simply trying what's asked of them, instead of always saying no.

2. No Fits, Nilson!Written and illustrated by Zachariah OHora

Hey have you seen this one around? Yep. This is the third time I've referred to it in my blog (see my original review here). Amelia and Nilson are bestest friends, but sometimes, all it takes is a little bump to set Nilson off and get them both in trouble. So Amelia does her best to keep him calm...but what happens when she's the one throwing the fit? First of all, it's a really cute story. But it's also a nice look into different ways a child can calm him/herself, especially with the help of a friend (real or imaginary).

3. Llama Llama Mad at MamaWritten and illustrated by Anna Dewdney

The "Llama Llama Books" are also rather popular. This one is all about a well-known issue: the tantrum in the store. Llama Llama didn't want to go to the store and Mama doesn't notice just how mad he is until it is too late. It's a great book for both child and parent about why store tantrums might happen and how to prevent them.

4. How Do Dinosaurs Say I'm Mad!Written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Mark Teague

More favorite characters! Yolen's "Dinosaur Books" are a little ironic, super fun, and enjoyable for adult and child. When dinosaurs get mad they may stomp, they may roar, but is that the best way to handle it? How can they calm down? It's funny, it's a bunch of cool dinosaurs, but it's also a good lesson for kids about taming their tantrums. And, most importantly, it's a reminder for parents to remind their kids of how much they're loved.

5. You Get What You Getby Written by Julie Gassman, illustrated by Sarah Horne

...and you don't throw a fit. You've all heard the phrase, yes? Well, Melvin the squirrel hates it when he doesn't get his way. And he makes sure everyone knows it. But at school, the teacher has started a new rule: "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit." What is Melvin supposed to do now? This story is more hilarious than realistic, but it is a good reminder about how rules can help control some tantrums.

6. Mouse Was MadWritten by Linda Urban, illustrated by Henry Cole

Mouse is hopping mad! But he can't even hop as well as the hare. He stomps in frustration! But it's nothing compared to bears stomps. Well, how is he supposed to show his anger?? While we don't know why Mouse is mad, kids can learn along with mouse that maybe the best way to handle your anger isn't storming about, but standing still or taking a big breath. They just might find they've calmed down--just like Mouse.

7. The Berenstain Bears Get the GimmiesWritten and illustrated by Stan & Jan Berenstain

Ah, a childhood favorite. Another case of a tantrum at the store, but this time, it's because Brother and Sister bear aren't getting what they want! Why can't they have the toys over there? Or the candy at the checkout aisle? Mama bear has just about had it! With a pointer from her own mother, Mama bear finds a way to compromise with Brother and Sister, so they all can enjoy their time at the store. It's another book that's good for the both the parent and child in learning to handle the "gimmies."

8. Here Comes Destructosaurus!Written by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Jeremy Tankard

Destructosaurus has reached the city! He's smashing buildings and blowing fire! Why is he being so unreasonable? Why won't he calm down?? First, I love the illustrations--who doesn't feel like a tantrum-throwing kid is equivalent to Godzilla in Tokyo?! So it's pretty funny, but it does the job of pointing out that instead of being quick to scold, a parent might try finding the source of a tantrum. And the child? Well, perhaps we can work on communication.

9. Finn Throws a Fit!Written by David Elliott, illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering

And anything can happen! Finn's fit grows and grows into thunder and lightening, a hurricane in the dining room and blizzard in the bathroom! When will it stop?? This has some really cool illustrations that show some pretty strong emotion--which is what a fit is all about. And the overall advice? Sometimes, you just have to weather the storm.

10. When Sophie Gets Angry--Really, Really Angry…Written and illustrated by Molly Bang

Sophie does NOT want to share with her sister, but her mom insists! She's so angry, she's ready to explode! How can she ever calm down? And so she runs and runs, until she wears herself out. As a Caldecott Honor, of course it has some pretty awesome illustrations--emotions and tantrum running high! But the story is another good look into different ways to calm down. Maybe the child needs some time to him/herself, or a chance to take some deep breaths of fresh air.

Overall, tantrums are a way of life. Sometimes, you have to let them run their course. Sometimes, you can prevent them from the start. Either way, these are some good books for both parents and kids to learn how to calm down. Do you have any favorite tantrum books?

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