New Frontier, 2022
32pp., hbk., RRP $A26.99
Goliath the Gorilla is always angry. He wakes up angry because the jungle birds sing too loudly, and even though he tries to not lose his temper, it’s not long before he does.
Anything can spark his anger and it means that not only does he have a miserable day, but all the animals around him do too as they fear the consequences of even the most simple pleasures like celebrating a birthday. Things come to a head when Paco the Parrot mimics everything he says, and Goliath is set to blow his top but then….
Written for young readers who are just learning to understand their feelings and manage them, this is an ideal one to share with them because as well as offering them an opportunity to develop their own strategies to employ when big feelings overtake them, it also demonstrates how these feelings and subsequent actions impact those around them.
This is the first in a series of picture books focusing on Dealing with Feeling in which the author wants children to recognise and manage their emotions by talking about them, learning their trigger points and developing ways to cope with them when they are overwhelmed. He has written teaching notes to guide those sharing the book with the sorts of questions to have children think about as well as helping them name and understand their emotions – in this book, as well as anger the focus is empathy as Goliath starts to realise how his emotions affect others.
Such books play an important role in the development of our little ones who experience these natural emotions but who don’t yet have the insight to understand them nor the words to articulate the reasons behind them. Learning their anger is usually a result of frustration at expectations not being met can not only help them control their outburst but also help them build the vocabulary to express it and the resilience to cope with it. Helping them understand that everyone has similar feelings at times, so they are neither alone, unique or naughty, and that they have the power to manage them is a huge step forward for positive mental health in the future.
A second book, Saving Piku featuring a penguin learning to sing, will be available in November.