…stylishly illustrated…This appealing book makes the timely decision to hold the conversation about male emotions while everyone involved is in costume, performing some iconically macho role…It's this subtle emphasis on the benefit of creative, dramatic play that, along with its graphic sophistication, makes Tough Guys (Have Feelings Too) au courant, even as it might seem like a 70s throwback. Perhaps, after all, the most effective route to helping boys manage their feelings is through their imaginations, populated as they may be by macho archetypes.
Did you know wrestlers have feelings? And knights. Even superheroes and ninjas feel sad sometimes. In fact everyone has feelings—especially dads who love their children!
Children will love recognizing their feelings in Keith Negley's bold illustrations which accompany a fun-to-read-aloud narrative.
Parents can joyfully engage with children in a lighthearted discussion about emotions and how they affect us all!
A simple, stylishly illustrated picture book […] This appealing book makes the timely decision to hold the conversation about male emotions while everyone involved is in costume, performing some iconically macho role.
—The New York Times
The title says it all. These tough guys are rendered in simple lines and shapes and colored in black and white, red, blue, and yellow, but they represent a broad range of virility. [...] Negley’s debut is nonetheless sincere.
In this oddly touching ode to male sensitivity, Negley shows that the toughest, coolest, and most heroic of men sometimes cry—and that’s okay. […] Negley cleverly depicts a range of emotions, validating that not only does everyone have feelings but it is perfectly fine to express them. Rather than try to teach kids what emotions are, this book focuses on emotional health in a unique and eye-catching way.
A short and straightforward story that challenges the traditional notion that men shouldn't express their emotions.
—School Library Journal
With minimal text and a dozen illustrations, [Keith Negley] speaks volumes about how even the biggest and strongest men get sad sometimes and cry. […] this book is a great way to have your child talk about feelings, and recognize their universality.
Bold and graphic, Negley’s gorgeous picture book gives kids the opportunity to reflect on the normalcy of emotions, giving little readers (and their parents) the chance to take heart —having feelings, even sad ones, doesn’t mean you aren’t as brave or tough as a superhero.
This is without doubt, the perfect book to get children to open up about their feelings and emotions. [...] With bold and bright images this will appeal to any audience, but it will undoubtedly catch the eye of a younger age group.
—Picture Books Blogger
[Tough Guys Have Feelings Too] teaches little boys that they don’t have to feel like Superman all the time. [...] this book may actually go a long way towards dismantling rigid gender roles. For both men and women, crying can be considered a sign of weakness or hysteria — forcing them to repress this very natural emotional response. But Tough Guys (Have Feelings Too) wants to put an end to that right now. This is the crying revolution, and it looks like the next generation might actually grow up knowing it’s OK to have a good cry when you need.
A touching reminder to your boy that it's okay to express himself, and will ensure he doesn't laugh in your face again the next time he finds you hiding in the bathroom sobbing into the mirror that this whole parenting thing is all just too much.
I love how this book with its short, but poignant text gives us a chance to empathize with grown men who are seldom shown crying. […] Overall, I think Tough Guys is a winner! It’s a wonderful, simple and highly emotive book that allows little readers to explore feelings and emotions while addressing the macho male stereotype "real men don’t cry." A must-have for your child’s home library collection.
—Here Wee Read
[Tough Guys Have Feelings Too] goes a long way in establishing the validity of a range of male emotions—and the acceptability of displaying such emotions in public.
—The Good Men Project
"The book’s wording is simple and assuring, the bright illustrations giving plethora of examples when a person might be feeling strong emotions like frustration or sadness. This book is also great for decoding emotions on others’ faces, and provides rich opportunities for discussion about social-emotion skills that can branch off to brainstorming about how to problem-solve or make a sad friend feel better."
—The Tiny Activist
PreS-Gr 1—Ninjas have fights with friends, wrestlers worry about their matches, superheroes cry. Tough guys are just like everyone else; they have emotions, and on the bad days they show them. To reinforce his point, Negley includes many of the usual dream jobs and beefs up many of his characters to the "manly" ideal. Color and shape both have a strong presence due to contrasting combinations of black, white, blue, yellow, and red. The style is fairly simplistic, relying on symbols—like a single teardrop—and body language more than faces in order to portray emotion. The majority of the story is rather downbeat, with various idols expressing frustration, defeat, and sadness. However, it takes a turn for the better at the end. Having made his statement, Negley bridges the gap between idealized tough guys and real-life tough guys through a boy and his father who are reading a book together. This sweet moment is a reminder to show love as well as other strong feelings. VERDICT A short and straightforward story that challenges the traditional notion that men shouldn't express their emotions.—Rachel Forbes, formerly of Oakville Public Library, Ontario, Canada
The title says it all. These tough guys are rendered in simple lines and shapes and colored in black and white, red, blue, and yellow, but they represent a broad range of virility. There are a lucha libre wrestler, two ninjas, a knight, a cowboy, and more stereotypically manly men. These tough guys are shown at emotional and sometimes scary moments: the astronaut floating in space holding a photograph of his wife and child; the superhero eating his lunch alone atop a building; the tattooed biker weeping over a dead squirrel in the road. Everyone has feelings, says the text—well, almost everyone, as the robot clipping and smashing flowers with a grim expression on its metal face indicates. In the end, it is all about the father and son, curled up together on the bed, reading together. The front endpapers show the boy in all of these guises, while the back endpapers show him in each role with his dad. The figures have varying skin tones, and while in some contexts "guys" is not a gender-specific term, everyone here reads as male, which is probably OK and no doubt intended. Though it doesn't exactly topple stereotypes or delve deep into questions of gender identity, Negley's debut is nonetheless sincere. (Picture book. 4-7)