CM . . .
. Volume XXIII Number 12. . . .November 25, 2016
This short book follows a hedgehog as it meets various animals and learns from them how they feel – whether it is a toad who is as gnarly as a tree trunk or a duckling with fuzzy down like tall grass. Although most children will be familiar with the North American animals, they may not have had a chance to actually feel them before.
While the book is sweet and evokes some interesting analogies, the enjoyment of the book would be increased if there were actual things for the children to touch. This is quite common in books for younger children, and some of the elements mentioned (e.g., smooth stones, slippery seeds) would be fun to actually touch while reading. Parents could then discuss not only the images in the book, but the actual feel of the animals described.
The illustrations, done with acrylics and coloured pencils, are quite detailed and realistic, and children will have fun identifying the animals on each page – particularly those few that they may not have seen before, such as snails or hedgehogs.
The ending of the book is a nice surprise – switching from a focus on physical feelings (e.g., soft, gnarly) to emotional feelings. This may allow parents an opportunity to discuss the differences in what or how a child might be ‘feeling’ and that both types of feeling are important. It can often be difficult to tease out how a young child is feeling emotionally, and so having a book act as an entry point can be helpful.
Despite the positive attributes mentioned above, this book is not strongly recommended. While the ending is a nice touch, there are numerous books on animals and how they feel currently available, and most have additional features such as flaps or touch and feel, both of which have great appeal for young children. In addition, although the age range given is 2-5, How Do You Feel will mostly appeal to readers between 2 and 3.
Mę-Linh Lę is a librarian at the University of Manitoba. She spends a lot of time negotiating “How many books?” with her three young children.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.