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I'm SO Mad!: Just Being Me #1    by Robie H. Harris & Nicole Hollander order for
I'm SO Mad!
by Robie H. Harris
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2005 (2005)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

This small picture book is the first in a Just Being Me series that combines typical (and often challenging) experiences in the daily routine of a small child and caregiver, with a brief 'What's Going On?' analysis (at the back of the book) by child psychiatrist Dr. Linda Mayes (a Yale professor with impressive credentials).

In I'm SO Mad!, Robie H. Harris shows a small girl and her mother grocery shopping. Remember those days? If you do, or are in the middle of them now, you're probably cringing. It can be so difficult to deal with a child's unreasonable demands and tantrums in a public place, and the grocery store is full of temptation for little ones. This tale is told from the girl's point of view (emphasized by Nicole Hollander's childlike illustrations).

When the battle of wills erupted, the little girl recalls 'I made a big fuss. A REALLY big, NOISY fuss!' But when it settled down, she gave her mom a hug, and the small tempest was forgiven on both sides. As Dr. Mayes tells us, though the mom in this story makes the trip a 'shared adventure' by giving her daughter choices (like the kind of bread to buy), there will always be moments when the child wants something now, followed by the inevitable tantrum. This clever mom helps her daughter to move on, and even finds shared humor in a minor disaster.

This excellent new Just Being Me series provides harried moms, dads and other caregivers examples of effective parenting behaviors, and validation of what they do well. It also reinforces the message to young readers that they're still loved, despite the anger and tussles of will that are part of living as a family.

Note: This book will be available May, 2005.

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