Andy is a regular schoolboy who lives in a normal home on a quiet street. He has a brother and a sister. Andy likes to play games and watch funny videos online. But sometimes Andy has a problem with his temper. Sometimes his family make him angry. Sometimes he gets angry at school when he can’t answer a question. And being angry makes Andy feel awful. One day Mindful Mike comes to visit Andy’s school and helps to explain how being angry and frustrated is okay and how different emotions are just part of being human. Mindful Mike shows Andy a special breathing technique to help him deal with his anger. A means of calming and coping that Andy can use whenever he is feeling stressed. It’s an easy skill to learn and by the end of the book Andy can be seen putting it into practice on his first steps into mindfulness.
This slim picture book by Mike Masse is the latest addition to the ever increasing selection of mindfulness books for kids. Where it differs from many of the alternative titles is that ANDY GETS ANGRY focuses on one specific type of problem and offers one clear method of coping with and helping to adjust a child’s emotional conflict. It is a simple, though crucially never simplistic, approach and Masse, in his guise as Mindful Mike, explains his stress ball breathing technique with instructions that are easy to understand and action. Masse has more than a decade’s experience in teaching mindfulness skills to adults and children and his knowledge is distilled with the minimum of fuss in his clear and concise text.
The illustrations are provided by Emily Corbett with a series of quite wonderful paintings that were originally executed on a large scale. The artist captures Andy’s frustrations perfectly, notably the peak steam-blowing moment used as the cover image, before reaching a place of peace as he engages with the breathing technique. There is a striking use of color throughout with some beautiful gestural strokes evoking elevated emotions and Andy’s drift towards calm.
Although conceived as an introduction to mindfulness techniques for a specific issue, ANDY GETS ANGRY is a beautifully designed picture book which would be of value to any young child.
~Kent Lane for IndieReader