Book Review: Picture books about emotions

Often it’s hard for young children’s to express their feelings and they resort to temper tantrums or just keeping silent. These recently published books illustrate ways to use the stories to discuss emotions.

Its OK to cryIt’s OK to cry

by Molly Potter, illustrated by Sarah Jennings (pub Featherstone, imprint of Bloomsberry RRP$21.99)

Also How Are You Feeling Today?

This book explores emotional intelligence and shows children that you can talk about your feelings and emotions. There are words to describe them. It starts off exploring why boys, in particular, tend to struggle with expressing their feelings and illustrates them with simple drawings to show how these uncomfortable, and also happy, words can help them. Children can learn these ‘words’ and how, for example, words like ‘feeling’ ‘intimidated’ and ‘petrified’ can describe how they feel.

This book has lots of touchpoints to discuss emotions—a perfect for starting place for those all-important conversations. Aimed at younger kids it’s suitable for all ages.


written & illustrated by Rocko Bonella. (pub by Quirky Kid. Available online. RRP$19.99)

This book is cleverly divided into two sections starting at either end and illustrating a sister talking about her brother and at the other end a brother talking about his sister!

Watercolour illustrations by the author are detailed and definitely one that young children can connect to if they have a brother/sister.

In this story, the brother is the younger, annoying sibling that likes to grab things from his sister;

he breaks everything,

sometimes he’s a cry baby

but in the end to be honest,

having a brother isn’t so bad

The story about from the brothers point of view is read from the other end, where he says he says his sister “is so predictable, but sometimes she makes me feel older and special

Quirky Kid is a psychology group specialising in clinics and resources for all ages.

Movie-Mayhem-coverMovie Mayhem, a story about saying Sorry

by Penny Harris, illustrated by Winnie Zhou (pub by Big Sky Publishing P/b RRP$16.99) Ages 3+

Part of the series Ginnie & Pinney Learn & Grow helping children to develop their emotional and social wellbeing. Supported by academic research, this series has a video and resources available for teachers and parents online.

Simple drawings by the illustrator are common to the eight books in this series. The main characters Ginnie & Pinney relate to their friends in different ways depending on their individual nature. For example, Lulu kangaroo loves playing about and jumping around; Tao the Tiger prefers peace and quiet. How these individual characters relate to each other is part of the importance this book has for discussing with young children topics such as saying ‘sorry’— if you’re very noisy and someone wants peace and quiet; sitting still if someone’s jumping around and wants to play a game or watch a movie.

The World made A RainbowThe World Made a Rainbow

by Michelle Robinson illustrated by Emily Hamilton (Bloomsbury Children’s Books P/b RRP $14.99) Ages 3+

Inspired by the rainbows that children drew and placed in their windows during the COVID period, this book talks to small children about being lonely, in Lockdown and missing their connections with friends and family.

Let’s paint a big rainbow to put on display.

When people pass by it and see it, they’ll say…

‘All rainstorms must end, and this rainstorm will too’

And they will feel a bit happier, all thanks to you.

The Thank You Present coverSmiling Mind 1: The Thank-you Present: A book About Gratitude

by Jane Martino, illustrated by Annie White (pub by Penguin. H/b RRP$19.99)

The Thank-you Present is the first book in the five-part mindfulness-informed series, developed in collaboration with Smiling Mind, Australia’s leading not-for-profit organisation in the pre-emptive mental health space.

Evie and Lola can’t wait for their birthdays, because birthdays mean presents! Evie and Lola LOVE getting presents, and they want presents now. Will they be able to find a way to be thankful for what they already have and enjoy the here and now?

This delightful picture book explores the different ways and reasons to say thank you, and captures all the warm feelings that we get from showing gratitude and giving rather than receiving.

Sloth-and-Dinglewot-cover-smallThe Sloth and the Dinglewot

by Nicole Prust and illustrated by Amanda Enright (New Frontier Publishing, HB, $24.99) Age Group 3-6 years.

This is a beautifully written and illustrated picture book themed around being brave, adventurous, not living in fear and trying new things. Samuel the Sloth lives in the forest with his ‘lazy’ family. He is bored just lazing around. Along comes a Dinglewot (“It had bells on its feet and eyes dark as night”) a strange bird who encourages Samuel to follow it and meet its various friends. The story is written in rhyme that flows easily from colourful page to colourful page. …Come on!’ said the Dinglewot. ‘Be brave now my dear, You’ll get nowhere in life if you’re living in fear!’

lola-DutchLola Dutch: I love you so much

by Kenneth Wright, Illustrated by Sarah Jane Wright (Bloomsbury Children’s Books, HB RRP $24.99) Ages 5+

Inspired by their own children the Wrights have a wonderful story with Lola Dutch. The pencil-and-watercolour illustrations of Lola as she tries to cheer up her friends when they are having a bad day are gorgeous. Croc, Crane, Bear and Pig are the recipients of Lola’s fanciful ideas to cheer them up when all they really need are a tea party!

The special way that Lola tries to be inclusive, show love and affection, is a great illustration of how to treat friends.

The writers have provided a special surprise on the inside of the wrap around cover and a Lola Dutch website with other ideas and resources such as colouring-in pages and paper puppets.

The Goody smallThe Goody

by Lauren Child (Orchard Books, HB RRP$24.99) Age Group 3+

Chirton Krauss is a good child – the very goodest. He does everything he is told, when he is told. He even does good things without being told. He eats his broccoli, he goes to bed on time and he never, ever sticks his finger up his nose.

Meanwhile, Chirton’s sister, Myrtle, is NOT a good child. She stays up late, she never cleans out the rabbit’s hutch and she drops her choco puffs all over the carpet! But what will happen when Chirton Krauss decides that being THE GOODY isn’t so good after all? A charmingly funny story about the importance of kindness, and allowing children the freedom to be themselves.  Lauren Child, is the multi-award-winning creator of Charlie and Lola and Waterstone’s Children’s Laureate 2017-2019.