In the tradition of one of my all-time favourite books, Wanda-Linda Goes Berserk, comes My Big Shouting Day!.
We’ve all had one of those days. You wake up feeling cross, out-of-sorts and grouchy. Bella is having one of those shouty kind of days in My Big Shouting Day! by Rebecca Patterson.
The day begins badly for Bella – “…I woke up and Bob was crawling around MY ROOM, licking MY JEWELLERY, so I shouted GET OUT OF MY ROOM! and that was the start of MY BIG SHOUTING DAY…”
Things go from bad to worse – her breakfast is all wrong, as are her shoes –
“After the TERRIBLE EGG I didn’t like my shoes either. So I took them off all by myself shouting: NO SHOES!”
Bella’s biscuit is broken and her ballet class is “TOO ITCHY!” (things are really deteriorating for Bella by this stage) and by the time she has her bath (“TOO WET!”) and brushes her teeth (“TOO MINTY!”) Bella is actually quite tired.
There’s a comforting end to this story, with Bella’s mother acknowledging “…we all have those days sometimes, but perhaps you’ll be more cheerful tomorrow!”
Patterson’s illustrations are fantastic – she has captured classic toddler antics perfectly, right down to Bella lying, unwilling to move, on the footpath. In each picture Bella is scowling, her shoulders are hunched and her mouth, well it doesn’t change from a big, black angry shout until the very end. And yet, every picture is so expressive, capturing the nuances of the tantrums (playdate angry is different to ‘stuck sitting in the trolley’ angry, as every three-year-old knows).
Meanwhile, Bella’s mother is grimacing through the tantrums, her patience slowly wearing out as the book progresses. The only thing that would have made the illustrations more realistic would have been a drawing of Bella’s mother reaching for a late afternoon gin and tonic (maybe I’m projecting myself into the story).
This is a terrific book for children aged three years and over and is especially good as a starting point for discussions about grouchy days (or about getting cross over seemingly little things). Because we all have them.