Reviews /

When I Feel Surprised

Authored by Paula Bowles
Illustrated by Paula Bowles
Published by Child's Play International Ltd

When I Feel Surprised is a delightful picture book that supports the emotional development and literacy of our youngest children. The main character is a cute, pink creature who finds out what a surprise can mean for them. Each page deals with a different type of surprise, some good and some not so good but even then, there is the potential for fun after all.

The illustrations perfectly encompass how a little person might react when faced with life’s surprises. The facial expressions and body language are easy to read and interpret. The language used is simple and therefore is easily understandable and relatable to young learners. The scenarios include being surprised by a cat jumping out in front of us, finding minibeasts under a plant pot, discovering interesting foods in our lunchbox or pop-up pages in a picture book. The scenes illustrated are everyday occurrences that children will recognise and relate to.

The discussions that can be prompted by each page and picture will develop a child’s understanding and ability to recognise, verbalise and cope when things take a surprising turn. It is great way in which to develop empathy, understanding and resilience in our youngest learners.

This is an important and useful board book and I would recommend it for use in Early Years and into KS1, especially where children find it difficult to cope with different or surprising things that happen to them and around them. This is part of a series of six books dealing with major emotions experienced by young children, which has been developed in conjunction with Dr Kathryn Lester, Senior Lecturer in Developmental Psychology at the University of Sussex.

Selected for the Empathy Lab 2024 Collection