Acclaimed author Jennifer L. Holm and her brother Matthew Holm have created a board book series titled “My First Comics” with the goal of introducing very young children to the language of feelings. The format is that of a comic book, and the text is simple, with lots of onomatopoeia. The colors are bright, and the characters repeat in the different books in the series.
Tizzy Tornado, Grumpy Cloud, Sunny and Chilly each have their own book dedicated to a feeling. In “I’m Silly,” Tizzy Tornado thinks that spinning through a picnic that Sunny and Grumpy Cloud are having is silly. Her friends, the two picnickers, aren’t laughing. She feels bad that she ruined their picnic, and being good friends, they forgive her. This simple board book teaches young kids that being silly can have consequences. The lead- in to this part of the story is Tizzy passing a duck and a line of hung laundry. When she spins past those, it’s a mess. There’s a lot that a parent, babysitter or teacher can do with this book and the discussion after.
“I’m Scared” is about Chilly. Chilly is scared of his shadow — literally. He’s also scared of ladybugs, the dark, and even, sometimes, nothing at all! When he first sees Grumpy Cloud and Tizzy Tornado sitting on swings, he is, of course, scared of them. But he wants to try the empty swing next to them. So he tiptoes past them and discovers that swinging is fun! Not scary at all.
Both books provide opportunities to talk to young children about their behavior, whether it’s being silly or grumpy or scared. Because they’re in a board book format, the books are ready for chubby young fingers to turn the sturdy pages. I can imagine that families who own the series might say to their toddler, “Which book are you like right now?” And the toddler might just pick out the book with the right emotion!
Please note: This review is based on the final board books provided by Random House Books for Young Readers, the publisher, for review purposes.