I’m feeling kinda down in the dumps, out of sorts, not so great, when I pick up a copy of The Feel Good Book. There, on the cover, is a smiling lady with a bright yellow face and pink big hair, dancing beside a blue-faced guy with six ropes of black hair shooting upwards from his head. They are dancing to what could be a disco beat, or maybe it’s The Twist, and they look happy, dressed in multi-hued outfits like go-go dancers from the 1960s. What do I have to lose? Scowling, I open the book.
"Giving a great big hug feels good," the first page announces in big, black handwritten letters. A smiling girl in an electric blue dress and fluffy hot pink hair stands there, right in the center of the yellowest of yellow pages, her arms outstretched, ready to give the reader (me?) a big, warm hug. I can almost feel her arms around me. I turn the page. “Eating carrots with a bunny feels good.” The one-toothed boy has a green face; the one-toothed rabbit, sitting beside him at the table, is hot pink. The Day-Glo colors are starting to make me feel slightly whimsical. “Getting tickled feels good,” reads the next page, which shows a purple hand scratching the sausage-shaped belly of a contented yellow—a really, really yellow—dog. I scratch my own belly and smile.
Okay, Parr’s book is simply a list of things that make you feel good. By the time I read my way through the bubble bath, brushing my hair with a lion, catching snowflakes on my tongue, making sounds like a monkey, and seeing fireflies out my window, I feel good. Really, really, laughing out loud, smiling a lot, humming “These are a few of my favorite things” in my best Julie Andrews voice, good. The flat bold pages, with contented people and objects outlined in heavy black lines will make kids want to take out their markers and draw and color themselves feeling good. In fact, that’s just the nudge the author gives us on the last page, stating, “It FEELS GOOD to think about all the things that make you FEEL GOOD. . . What things make you FEEL GOOD? Love, Todd.”
Grumpy kids and out-of-sorts parents will feel better, even if they don’t want to, from the nonjudgmental optimism that this picture book exudes. Have a nice day!
THEMES: BEHAVIOR. EASY READERS. LOVE.
Little, Brown Young Readers, 2002
Suggested Ages: 1-7