Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Sam's Pet Temper (Sangeeta Bhadra)
I was a little torn at first about the idea that "the temper" is a separate being from the child. I thought it might appear that it is something a child cannot control - but it seemed to be really thought provoking for my class. We don't have big temper issues in my class, but it was still a good read and provided for a good discussion.
The hero of this picture book, Sam, has to wait for everything on the playground one day, and this makes him mad. "He got madder and madder until he was the maddest he had ever been in his whole life." And then, suddenly, an unusual thing appears. It runs around, shoving and tripping and pinching and stomping, until all the other children have run away. "It was hanging upside down from the monkey bars, grinning at him. Sam had never seen anything like it before, but he knew what it was. It was a Temper." At first, having a pet Temper is fun. But before long, the Temper starts causing trouble for Sam. And eventually, Sam comes to the realization that his Temper is something he needs to learn to control. This funny but poignant title by Sangeeta Bhadra offers a perfect representation of just how frustrated and angry small children can get when circumstances in their lives make them feel helpless. Though never heavy-handed, Bhadra also manages to convey what the consequences can be when that anger takes over a child's behavior. The quirky yet stunning illustrations by Marion Arbona keep the emotional focus on the Temper, as a way to help children identify that their anger is not who they are. The emphasis on feelings makes this a terrific tie-in for character education lessons on self-discipline and taking responsibility for your actions, as well as on patience and perseverance when solving your own problems.