Nicola Edwards, My Book of Feelings: Exploring a World of Emotions, illustrated by Thomas Elliott

Caterpillar Books, 2020, ISBN 978-1-83891-021-1

Numerous books are available for young children to help them explore their emotions. They can play a very important part in supporting wellbeing. The unique feature of this book is the very active engagement that it promotes through its innovative emoji spinner. Children can decide how they feel about a range of different situations by choosing between six emoji faces. (There are three spinning discs, each with two sides.) The options are happy/joyful pleased; sad/disappointed/upset; angry/annoyed/fed up; surprised/shocked/amazed; calm/thoughtful/relaxed; confused/unsure/worried. Each double-page spread presents a range of things for children to think about. For example, they are encouraged to explore how they feel in different weather, and faced with different foods. In a spread headed 'New experiences can give us all sorts of different feelings', children are asked how they feel about travelling on a plane, being at nursery, a new brother or sister, going to the doctor, going to a party. The reassuring text explains that we all have feelings, that sometimes these show on our faces, that our moods change, that everybody is different, and we all enjoy different things. 'Feelings are never right or wrong. What matters is how we behave.' At the very end there is a mirror, and under it the words 'How do you feel today?'

The illustrations are a mix of drawings and photographs. The latter show a diverse range of children. I was pleased to see a child with a hearing aid and a child with Down's syndrome. The book is part of Little Tiger's My World series, which is Montessori-inspired, and aims to support confidence, consideration and curiosity. It could be used as an effective starting point for thought and discussion about emotions one-to-one or in small groups. Older children will enjoy interacting with it independently. It is a robust board book which should bear repeated active use well.