Saturday 5 March 2016

Smile Cry: A Beginner’s Book of Feelings

Smile Cry: A Beginner’s Book of Feelings by Tania McCartney, illustrated by Jess Racklyeft (EK Books)
HC RRP $ 19.99
ISBN 9781921966989

Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

Tania McCartney’s new book, illustrated in soft pastel watercolours and pencil, is a sheer delight. Piglet, bunny and cat are the adorable characters that take us through different feelings and the reasons that children experience them.

Designed to be read from either end, it is a clever format, as children can look at the Cry end for sad feelings, and the Smile side for happy emotions, depending on their state of mind. The two emotions meet in the middle.

Beautifully illustrated by Jess Racklyeft, this book can and will be used as a tool to generate discussion in classrooms and homes about moods and feelings. Designed for the 3+ age, questions will arise about what makes people cry. Is it from disappointment, fear, pain, something lost, the dark, saying goodbye, from sheer joy, regret, or simply a ‘tutu in the wash’?

Then there will be the opposite. What brings a smile to the face? A good book to read in bed on a rainy day, a loving wink, the satisfaction of a good meal, being tickled, enjoying the beauty of nature, laughing, anticipating something you long for, enjoying play, and being with people you love.

The expressions on the characters face speak a thousand words and frequently express more than the text. In this case, the two work in perfect harmony.

This is a picture book to enjoy over and over with a little one that you love. A wonderful stepping stone towards understanding feelings, it is full of smiles and tears, and genuine moments of togetherness will be found between its fantastic covers.

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