Shy Spaghetti and Excited Eggs: A Kid's Menu of Feelings

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

Inconsistency may be the greatest curse in the culinary world, and the fictional Feelings Restaurant suffers from it.

A menu of emotions (lonely lettuce, angry apples and sorry steak, to name a few) introduces tips for children to healthily address their behavioral responses. Catchy recommendations capture attention, and there's some truth to be found in the bubbly assertions ("the more you worry, the bigger your worries get!") Refreshingly, this book offers an appropriately complex exploration. With professional background in clinical psychology, the authors address techniques for families to implement, including counting and breathing exercises, when emotions or negative thoughts overwhelm. The nonjudgmental tone is unfailingly positive, but it's a shame when the voice veers into patronizing territory. "We're ALLfull of feelings. ...but they're not always easy. That's why kids need help figuring them out." Generalizations are unavoidable at this level, but they lead to oversimplification by stereotyping children's preferences. Repeated exhortation to seek adult support feels more condescending than encouraging ("grown-ups know the most facts of all"), with this same sentiment echoed in the lengthy parents' note.Bland design elements bog down the animated food, even the sulky cupcakes and boogieing eggs. These light spreads lack the vibrant colors expected in a robust kitchen.

Overall, a varying presentation turns self-help sour.(Informational picture book. 4-8)

Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Emotions or feeling are presented as on a menu at a restaurant accompanied by the statement that "All feelings are OK!" Sometimes our feelings overwhelm us—you may be feeling too happy or silly or worried and sad. There are techniques listed to help control these runaway feelings. There are good descriptions of how one feels when they are shy or scared and how it may be a good solution to think about the feeling and perhaps talk about it with an adult or draw or play act to help express the feelings and try moving on toward a good feeling. It is important to be in control of your feelings and not let any emotion get out of control. Anger may be one of the more difficult feelings to control and several pages offer suggestions for working out the anger. The text is all set in the context of cooking and the examples are clever. The illustrations are like cartoons and that may make the message more palatable to young children. The closing page contains an extensive note to patents with practical advice and a concluding note that if they are not able to help their child understand and manage his or her emotions then a professional child psychologist may be needed. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3—The authors cover a vast array of emotions and present ways for children to handle them when they feel out of control. For example, if youngsters get too excited, the suggestions are to count their fingers and toes to themselves, leave the room for a bit, sip some water, or go to a quiet spot and close their eyes and breathe in and out slowly. Frequently, the advice includes asking grown-ups for help. The setting for the book is the "Feelings Restaurant" with various foods experiencing the emotions—"Happy Hot Dog," "Worried Watermelon," "Angry Apples," etc. This device, coupled with the colorful, child-friendly illustrations, is what saves the book from being overly didactic. A note to parents offers additional suggestions for helping children label and cope with their feelings. A useful addition to parent shelves or for guidance counselors.—Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781433809569
  • Publisher: American Psychological Association
  • Publication date: 5/28/2011
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 995,652
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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