Customer Reviews for

When Sophie Gets Angry -- Really, Really Angry...

Average Rating 3.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Pure Rage . . . Safely Vented

When a young child gets frustrated, uncontrolled rage often follows. How can a parent help? I suggest reading this book together and discussing it while your child is in a good mood. When Sophie Gets Angry was a Caldecott honoree for its remarkable illustration...
When a young child gets frustrated, uncontrolled rage often follows. How can a parent help? I suggest reading this book together and discussing it while your child is in a good mood. When Sophie Gets Angry was a Caldecott honoree for its remarkable illustrations in 2000. These illustrations combine the styles of Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Matisse in a vivid, bright, and effective way. The book uses the metaphor of a 'volcano, ready to explode' very effectively. Geologists would point out that a volcano without vents will explode as the water in the cone turns to steam with no place to go. With vents, all you get is a cloud of steam and gentle lava flows. Ms. Bang uses three illustration techniques to maximum advantage. First, she colors the page with the emotion Sophie is feeling. Second, she turns Sophie's words into physical expressions within the metaphor. Third, she changes her composition to show the transition that Sophie feels as she moves from within herself into touch with the world around her again. My favorite two images in the book are when she first arrives at an old beech tree that she climbs into. The second has her sitting in the same tree while 'the wide world comforts her.' This is one of the ten best illustrated children's books it has been my pleasure to view. I come to this conclusion based on the excellence of the style, the appropriate use of color, the fit with the story, and superb compositions. The quality is uniformly high in all these dimensions. The story itself deals with a typical cause of childhood rage -- being asked to share when a child doesn't want to. Mom takes Sophie's sister's side, and then Sophie falls over a truck . . . hurting herself. That fans the flames! 'She wants to smash the world to smithereens.' 'She roars a red, red roar.' Then Sophie does a positive thing. Rather than simply throwing a nonstop tantrum, she takes charge of managing her emotional state. Her reaction is to run. 'She runs and runs and runs until she can't run anymore.' 'Then for a little while, she cries.' At that point, she begins to come out of herself and her rage. I liked the use of this method for handling anger, because researchers show that by changing our physiology we can change our mood. Also, exercising releases stress and anger. Sophie's family lives near the seashore, so Sophie goes to a peaceful spot . . . where she has found solace before. I think this is an excellent example for your child, suggesting that a child find a place where she or he can be quietly alone where he or she finds peace. This can be a good place to visit, even when the child isn't angry. Then Sophie comes home. 'She feels better now.' 'The house is warm and smells good.' 'Everyone's glad she's home.' So there are no further consequences except feeling loved. This is a marvelous way to encourage a child to take care of their emotions in ways that keep an even balance in family relations. The messages that a child will get from this book are that anger is a natural reaction to everyday situations, that the anger can be defused by the child's own actions, and that this can all occur in a loving environment. For a parent, it is easier to talk about Sophie's anger than your child's anger. But you can certainly ask your child what she or he thinks about Sophie's anger . . . and what Sophie should do. You can also ask your child if he or she has a favorite peaceful spot. You can also describe when you feel angry, and what you do about this. As a result, your child can begin to understand that there are multiple paths to defusing anger. Please be aware that Sophie runs to a quiet place, not away from home. Certainly, you don't want your child to run away from home when angry. If you live in a small apartment, the quiet place may be a cozy corner in a room in the apartment near a window looking out on the beauties of nature. That's why you will want to have a discussion about appropriate qu

posted by Anonymous on April 2, 2001

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

VERY Diasappointed

This was one of the only books in our Library that discussed anger for my 4 year old son. He's had a very hard time expressing his emotions and anger is the worst for him. I was very disappointed in this book. It's more or less a book on WHAT NOT TO DO. The litt...
This was one of the only books in our Library that discussed anger for my 4 year old son. He's had a very hard time expressing his emotions and anger is the worst for him. I was very disappointed in this book. It's more or less a book on WHAT NOT TO DO. The little girl reacts and behaves in ways I would NOT want my son to do. Screaming, throwing a fit, running away, etc. The best I could do with it was read and discuss with him how her actions WERE NOT HELPING. At the end of the book the girl has wrung herself out with her screaming, crying and running away and shows up at home like nothing happened. Her parents don't seem to have noticed she was gone, there is no discussion on her actions, and all is just peachy. Very disappointed.

posted by Anonymous on February 5, 2007

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2013

    I worked in a preschool last year and this book was in our class

    I worked in a preschool last year and this book was in our classroom and I loathed it entirely.  

    1.  Sophie is just playing in the living room minding her own business, when her sister takes her toy WITHOUT ASKING, and their mother doesn't correct her. 

    2.  Sophie throws a tantrum, which I don't blame her.  Her sister stole her toy and her mom thinks that's okay.  No wonder Sophie has anger issues.  

    3. Sophie runs away from home, and no one seems to notice, or care.  She runs into the woods, and sits by a body of water.  There's people on this review board are saying that it's not supposed to be taken literally, and that she's running into her imagination.  The age group that this book targets doesn't know how to differentiate between what's real and imaginary.  Kids that read this might think it's okay to run away whenever the hell you feel like it.  

    4.  She returns home and it's like nothing happened.  I'd be a little flustered if my kid ran away from home, but whatever.

    5. The book is supposed to be about anger and how to control that anger, but the character isn't addressing her anger in a healthy way.  She's running away from her problems.  This doesn't teach kids how to confront their issues in a healthy way.  

    6.  The CD that accompanies this book is read by a really monotone narrator.  

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2007

    irritated

    This is a horrible lesson in which it teaches. I would not suggest this book to any parent for their child to read. The lesson that most any reader would get is that running away from the problem and then coming back home you are rewarded with a warm welcome? That is only a dysfunctional way of resolving a problem. What first went wrong is that Sophie¿s sister took the gorilla without asking Sophie if she could have it and the mother did not address Sophie¿s sister that she was wrong in doing so. Yes, this is a cute and funny story for a young child, but what they would learn in reading this book is that just taking a toy without asking or running away from home is okay to do, when it is the wrong thing to do. There is no relevant achievement that this book displays. Nurturance happens when Sophie returns home and everyone is happy to see her. Cooperation does not apply because Sophie¿s gorilla was taken from her. Sophie took her chance in running away because she did not get her way, and she retuned home without punishment. Doing one¿s best did not exist because Sophie and her sister were not able to play together. Kindness, honesty, and caring were not shown from the mother when Sophie¿s gorilla was snatched from her by neither her sister nor when she ran away. There were not any right lessons learned. Punishment was avoided in this book. This book was a way of sugar coating how to deal with a problem in running away. Why would we want our children to think running away from a problem is the answer? Why would some one want to write about that? This book emphasizes that when one does not get their way, running away is the answer.

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