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I Am Angry

Authored by Michael Rosen
Illustrated by Robert Starling
Published by WalkerBooks

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A little cat wakes up with big feelings. The kitten is angry! What will they do with these big feelings?

Kitten is angry. They are so angry that they want to make a lot of noise, throw away their toy mouse, paint the sky red or even… go back to bed.

Illustrations are vital to the success of picture books, and Robert Starling’s work beautifully with the text. They are dynamic and energetic, with plenty of white space ensuring that Michael Rosen’s words stand out as part of the overall design. The text is rhythmic and energetic, in rhyming couplets as one would expect from the former children’s laureate and poet. This text had its first life as a poem from Rosen’s A Great Big Cuddle collection, illustrated by fellow former laureate Chris Riddell.

There are a lot of books on the market about children and emotions; one of my favourites being My Big Shouting Day by Rebecca Patterson. Many of these books feature trusted adults- a parent, or a teacher- soothing the child protagonist. In I Am Angry, the kitten works through their anger, retrieves the toy mouse from the bin, and takes themselves for a nap. That empowerment of children to help themselves feel better seems an important message.

This would be a wonderful book to read to a Reception class to support a discussion about emotions as part of a PSED lesson, perhaps including role play and children suggesting what might help the kitten to get their anger out. In Year 1 children might be able to suggest an additional line to the poem to describe what the kitten might feel like doing when they’re angry. Highly recommended.