Molly Bang has written and illustrated more than twenty books for young readers, including WHEN SOPHIE GETS ANGRY--REALLY, REALLY ANGRY...; TEN, NINE, EIGHT; and THE GREY LADY AND THE STRAWBERRY SNATCHER, each of which were Caldecott Honor books. Bang divides her time between Falmouth, Massachusetts, and Norther California.
PreS-Gr 2-Sophie is playing with her stuffed gorilla when her sister wrests it from her, knocking her to the floor. When their mother agrees that it is her sister's turn to play with the toy, Sophie becomes so angry that "She wants to smash the world to smithereens." She kicks, screams, and eventually runs into the woods where she climbs a huge beech tree, looks out over the water, and is comforted by the "wide world." Calm, she returns home ready to participate in family life. The text is appropriately brief, for it is Bang's double-page illustrations, vibrating with saturated colors, that reveal the drama of the child's emotions. Floorboards slant diagonally across two pages, echoing the agitation of the siblings as they engage in a tug of war. A close-up of Sophie's face with blue eyes blazing and pigtails flying is set against a fire-red background. Bang gives the ranting girl a huge red shadow. On the next spread, Sophie releases a "ROAR" so enormous that she seems to shrink off the page. The trees, outlined in bright red, mimic the girl's anger, then bow down as she passes by stooped and weeping, and finally sport bright-green outlines as she returns home cheered and hopeful. Sophie, like a missing piece, rejoins her family as the puzzle they are working on is completed. Pair this excellent story with Dorothea Lachner's Andrew's Angry Words (North-South, 1995).-Marianne Saccardi, Norwalk Community-Technical College, CT
Raw zigzags of color convey a girl's rage in this compassionate volume, which proposes a cure for anger. Sophie's temper flares when her sister demands a turn playing with a favorite stuffed gorilla. Matters worsen when Sophie's mother passes judgment ("It is her turn now, Sophie") and Sophie trips over a toy truck in the resulting tug-of-war. Infernal shades of orange, yellow and red liken Sophie to a shuddering volcano; a gray cat with jagged fur wisely gets out of her way. With the "PABAM!" of a slammed door, the girl races outside. "She runs and runs and runs until she can't run anymore. Then, for a little while, she cries." Gradually, a calmer Sophie begins noticing birds and ferns. When she returns home, relaxed again, her sister has abandoned the gorilla in favor of a tabletop puzzle. With minimal text, Bang (Common Ground; Ten, Nine Eight) gives a realistic account of embattled siblings and prescribes self-imposed solitude. Edgy illustrations with roilingly patterned foreground shapes and looming, dark backgrounds convey Sophie's inner violence; in particular, a quiet image of a ghostly gray beech against a midnight-blue sky is reminiscent of Van Gogh's Japanese-print-inspired scenes. Bang's evocatively illustrated book suggests no quick fixes; she treats childhood emotions with respect. Ages 2-7. (Mar.)