4 out of 4 stars
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My Mama Says Inside Me Lives a Village by Nadine Levitt is a children’s picture book that explores the emotions swirling around inside of us. It is illustrated by Miriam Mitzi Rosas. There are several animal characters, each of whom displays a different type of feeling. In this way, children will be able to identify the emotions they have. There is an emphasis on encouraging kids to recognize which feelings are negative and how to handle them.
I thoroughly enjoyed this cute, educational story. It contains vivid descriptions to demonstrate the various emotions people experience. The hippo shows his anger by stomping his feet “with a huff and a puff.” In some cases, similes are used – for example, “as mean as a hungry tiger.” Most of the explanations are simple and age-appropriate for a young child. However, I’m not sure kids would be able to grasp the concept of someone having a heavy heart.
The plot is fairly easy to follow. A child is the narrator, although he/she isn’t shown. It doesn’t matter, as the emotions take center stage. Each animal character displays a specific emotion, such as feeling happy, sad, shy, angry, goofy, etc. Two pages are devoted to each character/emotion. The words for the feelings are prominently displayed in capital letters and a larger, different-colored font (e.g. - blue for “sad”).
The illustrations are colorful and whimsical, and they tie in nicely with the storyline. I particularly enjoyed the collage showing all of the emotions, as it provides a good summary of the various emotions people experience. The characters’ facial expressions accurately reflect the emotions being described. For example, the puppy’s sadness is conveyed through tears streaming down his face and a dark cloud behind him.
The book is edited well, with only one grammatical error - a missing comma between two adjectives. Actually, this might be the use of artistic license. Since the first adjective is one of the emotions, I wonder if the author didn’t want to mar the large, highlighted word with a comma.
This story has earned a rating of 4 out of 4 stars. It is a fun read and an effective method of familiarizing youngsters with the types of feelings they have. At any age, the first step in dealing with your emotions is recognizing them. I would recommend this book to children ages 4-8, particularly those who enjoy animal characters. It would be a perfect choice for a read-aloud by teachers or parents, since the story could spur a discussion about how to deal with unwanted emotions.
My Mama Says Inside Me Lives A Village
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