The big bad mood by Tom Jamieson

cover image

Ill. by Olga Demidova. Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781408839201
(Ages: 3-6) Recommended. Feelings. Having spent most of his time writing for television and radio, this is one of the author's first forays into children's literature and is the illustrator's second picture book (her first was Usborne's Peep inside the Farm). Their relative newness to the field is not apparent as this collaborative effort pairs witty and age-appropriate writing with attention-grabbing illustrations that successfully capture the emotions of the main characters. An appealing and well-designed front cover with bold colours draws the eye immediately and children will want to find out more about this big, dark creature (the personified Big Bad Mood who looks a bit like a blue Mr Chicken). The story features George, who is having a particularly bad day. When his mum tells him that there is a big bad mood hanging around him he goes looking and finds 'a curious fellow, rough like sandpaper and smelling of socks which REALLY needed changing'. Children will identify with George; everyone has had one of those days and done their fair share of stomping, shouting and huffing and puffing. They will also love hearing about the mischief George is dragged into by his Big Bad Mood: making a Big Bad Mood Sandwich with caterpillar legs and spider mayonnaise, and filling the swimming pool with jelly and custard. The Big Bad Mood is having a great time but George is getting a bit tired of being grumpy (it is hard work and his friends aren't very happy) so off he goes to tidy up, to say sorry to those he might have hurt, and play happily with his friends. Making the Big Bad Mood an incredibly happy, enthusiastic character (rather like Drop Dead Fred), whose job is to make everyone grumpy, is great as it adds a life and humour that may have been missed if it had been a grump itself. This is a great reminder to children that it is ok to have grumpy days when they don't want to share or play nicely with their friends but that their friends won't want to play with them if they are in a bad mood all the time. It also shows young children how to deal with the aftermath of a grumpy episode (saying sorry, tidying up) and gives them the language to talk about their emotions and frustration with their parents, teachers, and friends.
Nicole Nelson