Thursday, 30 November 2017

The Bad Mood and the Stick by Lemony Snicket and Matthew Forsythe (Andersen Children's Books)

How do you feel today? Are you happy? Sad? Grumpy? In a bad mood perhaps?
Books that let children explore the concept of emotions and their own emotional states aren't particularly new, but when you've got heavy-hitters like Daniel Handler (in the guise of Lemony Snicket here) producing hugely engaging stories along with fabulous illustrations from Matthew Forsythe, you know you're in for a treat.

Just as Lemony Snicket's "The Dark" (illustrated by Jon Klassen) explored the concept of our (sometimes irrational) childhood fears, Lemony Snicket's "The Bad Mood and the Stick" offers a refreshing, thoughtful, and hilarious look at the ways in which a bad mood wreaks havoc as it moves from person to person - often leaving an unexpected trail of surprise in its wake: opportunities for laughter, forgiveness and even love. 

The bad mood in this story is embodied as a sort of grumpy looking rainbow-hued cloud, giving youngsters a point of reference in a visual way, and allowing them to look their bad mood right in the eye. 

The young girl in this tale thinks she's come up with the perfect solution to disperse this grumpy character, but soon realises that there are far better ways to get rid of a bad mood than resorting to swiping at it with a big stick. 

This book instantly draws you in, largely thanks to Matthew's engaging art but also thanks to Mr Snicket's rather wry and tongue-in-cheek way of looking at things through a youngster's eyes. 

Sublime stuff. 

"The Bad Mood and the Stick" by Lemony Snicket and Matthew Forsythe is out now, published by Andersen Children's Books (kindly supplied for review).