3 out of 4 stars
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Puffy Gets Angry is a children’s picture book by Rich Pfeiffer and Susie Post Roberts. Puffy is a young puffer fish who finds it difficult to control himself when he gets angry. He lashes out at his classmates, which causes the teacher to label him a “problem maker.” Will the young fish be able to deal with his anger management issues?
I thoroughly enjoyed this entertaining story. The plot contains an easy-to-understand conflict and stays on track to a clear resolution. In addition to the main theme, there are interesting details in the story – for example, the teacher’s fish-related lessons and Puffy’s skill at building intricate sandcastles. The author is adept at showing “the big picture,” as the teacher explains to Puffy how his behavior affects everyone in the classroom. I liked this scene, since teachers can often reprimand students without adequately explaining the full impact of their actions.
Puffy is a sympathetic character who displays a relatable flaw. His mother is an absolute standout. She provides useful suggestions and consistent reminders of these tips. I like that the information can be easily practiced by parents and children at home. It’s also nice to see positive reinforcement, rather than strict punishment, in a book geared toward young kids.
The story is enhanced by colorful, detailed artwork. The pictures accurately reflect the changing emotions of the characters. The illustrator does an excellent job of depicting Puffy during an angry outburst; the prickles on his body become more prominent, and his entire body expands. The illustrations are shown on the top half of each page, with several sentences below. While the artwork ties closely with each step of the plot, I think children would prefer full-length pictures.
I would recommend this story for parents and teachers to read aloud to children ages 4-8. It would likely appeal to children who have trouble controlling their emotions. The book would be a perfect choice for storytime in school, since it could jump-start a discussion about anger management. Older children within this age range might be able to read the book on their own. However, the long sentences might be challenging for beginning readers, even though there are no overly sophisticated words.
There are four noticeable errors in this story. Normally, four errors wouldn’t be a big deal. However, these errors stick out like a sore thumb in such a short book. Also, it is especially important for a children’s book to be error-free since young readers learn by example.
I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars due to the aforementioned errors. It is an interesting and educational tale with a universal theme. It is never too early to teach children to control their anger. A picture book with a cute main character is certainly a fun way for children to learn about this important issue.
Puffy Gets Angry
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