Chillax!: How Ernie Learns to Chill Out, Relax, and Take Charge of His Anger

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Sara Lorimer
Ernie keeps losing his temper. He's furious when his schools schedule changes, when his friends avoid him (because of his rages), and when his parents ask what's up. "I've got it under control," he says, but when he accidentally starts a fire in the chemistry lab and is faced with suspension, he agrees to see a counselor. She helps him figure out what makes him mad ("people annoy me...I hate to lose...I hate change") and to recognize physical symptoms of anger ("my eyebrows go down...my teeth clench...my heart races"). "Now that you know what anger feels like in your body," the therapist tells him, "you can identify it as anger and try to control your actions, situations, events, or other triggers." It's the fight or flight mode, she explains, and he needs to learn how to turn his thinking brain back on by using SWIFT-B: Sing a song in your head, Walk away, Imagine yourself laughing, Fake a smile, Take cover, Breathe. She also encourages him to talk to someone when he feels the small stresses adding up. One page shows the instructions she gives him for "calm-down breathing," or deep breathing. Visualization is the next technique he learns, thinking of a calm scene for ten minutes. The therapist also recommends exercise in the sun, keeping a journal, being grateful daily, and watching funny TV shows. Ernie follows her advice for a month and sets a new record of 10 rage-free days. His grades improve, his peers like him more, and there are hints of a girl being interested. The first 50 pages of this book are a black-and-white comic, which not only might lure in some reluctant readers but is a useful technique for showing things like anger. Eight pages at the end are text covering the techniques and theory Ernie learned about in counseling. This slender book isn't going to change any angry kid around overnight, but it might help. It would work well with a classroom or therapy session on anger recognition and management, reinforcing lessons and providing a bit of humor. Reviewer: Sara Lorimer
Kirkus Reviews

In a self-help graphic novel, angry Ernie, called "Erupto" by his friends, receives some counseling on anger management.

Middle-schooler Ernie has serious anger-management issues. Many things set him off: Unfairness during a pick-up basketball game with friends, teasing at school and his parents' attempts to find out about his day all trigger volcanic temper tantrums. After causing a small fire in his science class during an emotional meltdown, he is sent to the school counselor, who offers him—and readers—not only some specific, useful strategies for controlling anger as it emerges, but also advice on "unloading your emotional load," in order to live more calmly. These ideas are far more comprehensive than the usual "take a deep breath and count to 10" advice and include opportunities for practice during calmer times. Although Ernie's sister and a good friend, Jack, are depicted making efforts to calm him, and Ernie obviously experiences guilt over his outbursts, character development is scant. Black-and-white artwork is average; facial features of different characters vary little, making them hard to distinguish from each other.

The graphic-novel format and very brief text, followed by a longer section of more in-depth information on anger, is likely to make this effort an easy sell to young teen readers. (Self-help graphic novel. 9-15)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781433810374
  • Publisher: American Psychological Association
  • Publication date: 8/28/2011
  • Pages: 64
  • Sales rank: 318,692
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.70 (w) x 7.30 (h) x 0.30 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2014

    This was a great book, I ordered it from library and it seemed l

    This was a great book, I ordered it from library and it seemed like it was written for my son. After we read it together , I asked if we should get our own copy. He was thrilled when he received the book. 

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  • Posted April 3, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A Mom¿s Choice Awards Recipient!

    Chillax is the recipient of the prestigious Mom's Choice Award. The Mom's Choice Awards honors excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. An esteemed panel of judges includes education, media and other experts as well as parents, children, librarians, performing artists, producers, medical and business professionals, authors, scientists and others. A sampling of the panel members includes: Dr. Twila C. Liggett, Ten-time Emmy-winner, professor and founder of Reading Rainbow; Julie Aigner-Clark, Creator of Baby Einstein and The Safe Side Project; Jodee Blanco, New York Times Best-Selling Author; and LeAnn Thieman, motivational speaker and coauthor of seven Chicken Soup For The Soul books. Parents and educators look for the Mom's Choice Awards seal in selecting quality materials and products for children and families.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2012

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