TELLEGEN, Toon (text) Marc Boutavant (illus.) The Day No One was Angry Gecko Press, 2014 82pp NZ$27.99 pbk ISBN 9781927271605 SCIS 1688668
The didactic has very much been part of children’s literature over time and, though more recently it has not been popular with critics in terms of Western culture, nevertheless texts still often have explicit messages for children. This illustrated compendium of animal stories is playful with this issue of didacticism given the animal fables/stories have been the frame for teaching moral ideas since almost time began! Here children are encouraged to overtly think about the issue of anger. The key here is to ‘think about’, in that children are invited to deconstruct the actions of the characters and become analytical philosophers, as it were. That is to say, children are invited to develop logical and coherent arguments whereby each story becomes a method by which we understand more about what right and wrong, wise and foolish mean to us. Each story invites critical thinking about the causes and consequences of anger. This book demonstrates that quirky stories can produce deeper thinking! Highly recommended.
reviewed by John McKenzie