Mad, Mad Bear!

Strong emotions can be difficult for children to process. “Mad, Mad Bear!,” the November Baby Buzz Pick, might be just the ticket for tantrums and tears.

Each month, The Missourian selects a quality, hardcover book for children birth to age 5. A review of the book appears in the second weekend issue of the newspaper. The reviews are written by Maria Brady-Smith, former parent educator with the Washington School District, and Chris Stuckenschneider, book editor at The Missourian. The following review was written by Stuckenschneider.

A little bear has big feelings in this simple tale by Kimberly Gee about how a bad day can get worse. Though bear has an adorable room with lots of toys, he’s in a funk, arms crossed at his chest, a scowl on his face.

Bear’s angst increases when he goes to the park and his mom makes him leave before his buddies. To compound his sour mood, he face-plants on the sidewalk and gets an “owie.” Once home, he has to leave his favorite boots and a stick he’s found at the door. “Bear thinks this is not fair,” and goes to his room in a huff.

There he shoves his red chair, screams at the top of his lungs and throws himself on the floor, with a loud “GRAAAAAAAAH!” Bear lies there with tear-stained cheeks; he finally gets up, taking deep breaths that calm him.

A good night kiss, and a good night’s sleep make everything right for the bear and serve as a reminder that “this too will pass,” in a book with large, adorable illustrations that make the bear’s expressions easy to decipher for toddlers.

Sharing “Mad, Mad Bear” with a youngster might serve as a springboard to discuss emotions. Learning to manage strong feelings is one of the most important tasks of early childhood. Parents can help facilitate this process by helping children find appropriate ways to express their feelings and by reading books such as this about getting through the grumpies.