Sam's Pet Temper.
Sam's Pet Temper
written by Sangeeta Bhadra
illustrated by Marion Arbona
Kids Can Press, 2014
978-1-77138-025-6 (he) $18.95
for Kindergarten to Grade 3
Picture Book / Emotions
Frustrated by having to constantly wait his turn at the playground, Sam has the biggest tantrum of his young life. Suddenly, a dark scribbly storm cloud appears over his head and, taking on a life of its own, frightens the other children away. "Sam had never seen anything like it before, but he knew what it was. It was a Temper."
At first Sam enjoys the Temper's companionship. But when he invites it home, the Temper, now completely out of control, wreaks havoc throughout. Doors are slammed, walls are kicked and dinner is thrown. When confronted by his family, Sam can only yell, "It wasn't me! It was my Temper!" Much to the boy's chagrin, the Temper continues its chaotic actions at school. Realizing that his constant emotional outbursts are damaging his relationships with others, Sam gathers a newly discovered inner strength and finds a creative way to control his Temper once and for all.
In her first picture book, Bhadra has cleverly transformed an esoteric concept into a visible entity, thus making it easier for children to examine their emotions. The interactions between Sam and his internal nemesis range from humorous to dramatic, and a sprinkling of different fonts adds greatly to the text's expressiveness. Although Sam realizes that the Temper is never far away, he now understands what to do if it finds him again.
Rendered in pencil, gouache and Photoshop, Arbona's detailed and fanciful illustrations are as energetic and vivid as the Temper she has so imaginatively brought to life. One could almost believe this whirling force of fury to be quite lovable, if only it wasn't so destructive. Bright colours and geometric shapes dominate against a white background, drawing readers in to a world turned upside down and then back again.
Senta Ross is a former elementary teacher and teacher-librarian in Kitchener, Ontario.