No One is Angry Today by Toon Tellegen, illustrated by Marc Boutavant. Translated by David Colmer. Gecko Press, 2021. 9781776573455
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3
Genre: Animal fiction
What did you like about the book? Ten short chapters portray a rotating cast of animal characters and their ways of getting angry. The firebelly toad actually inflicts violence on his friends – tearing out the hedgehog’s quills, twisting the elephant’s trunk. The toad doesn’t think his friends understand anger, he doesn’t feel better, and his friends realize they don’t know the depth of toad’s anger. Squirrel agrees to dance with the elephant even though the elephant always steps on his toes. Squirrel is in pain, while the elephant experiences joy. Squirrel’s anger is quiet. Each small story shows anger, forgiveness, frustration or fear. Each chapter is a small drama, and I think the author is asking the reader to empathize with and understand each animal’s feelings.
While I don’t think the text is successful in offering resolution to difficult feelings, the art is fabulous. Boutavant is the genius behind the early graphic novel series Ariol, and his animals all have such wonderful expressiveness. Their joys, frustrations, and empathy for one another are masterfully portrayed in their facial expressions and body language. The style and color palette remind me of vintage Richard Scarry in the early board book I am a Bunny. I’m not sure the superior art is a reason to buy this book, whose sensibility is a little bit off from how most parents try to help kids process their feelings, but it’s worth a look.
Anything you didn’t like about it? See above.
To whom would you recommend this book? I think there are better books for understanding anger which offer more of a mindfulness approach, such as Bang’s When Sophie Gets Angry… and Silver’s Anh’s Anger. But for slightly older kids, this could work.
Who should buy this book? Elementary school and public libraries
Where would you shelve it ? Parenting collections, in a section on big feelings.
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No, unless you’re a fan of Boutavant’s art.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA
Date of review: September 22, 2021