Rainbow of Emotions, Big Emotions, & Facing Fears (Elena Ulyeva)

Hello, friends! Our books today are Rainbow of Emotions, Big Emotions, and Facing Fears, written by Elena Ulyeva and illustrated by Olga Agafonova (Olka Illustration), the first three books in the Clever Emotions board book series.

Cam the chameleon, like everyone, feels lots of different emotions, yet Cam is unique in that he literally wears his feelings on his face; his scales change to a specific color depending on the emotion he is currently feeling (yellow for happy, purple for embarrassed, white for scared, etc). In each book, Cam is faced with a different dilemma – looking for a playmate, finding his mom, and being confronted with xenophobia – and navigates through his full range of emotions before reaching a conclusion. After the plot is wrapped up, the final page encourages readers to think about how they deal with their own emotions.

Repetitive and uninspired. While the general concept of color-coding emotions is always helpful for very young readers, it’s a pretty common trope that has been done elsewhere (and honestly, better). These books suffer most in their lackluster stories, which are carbon copies of each other, and are filled with wildly shifting tones and unresolved conflicts. They also only offer lessons in emotional regulation on the last page of two books (though these tips are truly beneficial, especially the emphasis on sharing problems with trusted adults). On the bright side, the artwork is consistently charming, though not terrifically memorable. JJ was a little disappointed with these, especially as she had been excited by the concept; she tired of Cam’s exploits halfway through Facing Fears (which, incidentally, is the title that offers no lessons in emotional regulation). All in all, there are just too many fantastic pictures books about emotional intelligence that it’s hard to strongly recommend these. Worth a glance, but unlikely to grab the reader.

(Note: Copies of these books were provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

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