Amazon Affiliate Disclosure: I receive a percentage of revenue if you buy from Amazon on my blog (at no cost to you).
Jax’s Tail Twitches: When You Are Angry is the second book in the Good News For Little Hearts series. The story creator is Jocelyn Flenders who has a background in intercultural studies and counseling. David Powlison, the editor, is a biblical counselor with over thirty years of experience and a faculty member at CCEF. He has written many good books and booklets on sanctification, anger, anxiety, and more. Joe Hox has illustrated the other two books in this series. You can view his style at his website here.
The story here centers around a family of five squirrels—Mama, Papa, Caspian, Jax, and little Jolie. The big day has arrived. The family will go to their big tree and pick their ripened acorns for the winter. A few things foreshadow what is to come. First, Caspian is already annoying Jax. Second, Jax thinks Mr. McNuffles will steal acorns from their tree. Third, Mama needs to be back home in time to take the acorn crisp out of the oven.
Everything begins fine. Well, except that Caspian is annoying Jax. And Mr. McNuffles is taking some of Papa’s acorns, even though he has his own tree(s). Doesn’t he know what the Squirrel Handbook says?!? While they argue, little Jolie decides to make a happy bounding leap over Papa’s bag of acorns, except she doesn’t quite make it. And, of course, Mama remembers her acorn crisp and realizes that it is now, indeed, too crispy.
Without explaining the whole story, what I found nice here was how many of the character (Papa, Mama, Jax, and Mr. McNuffles) became angry over something. Jax was purely annoyed by Caspian’s picking and joking. Papa was frustrated that Mr. McNuffles would dare take acorns from his tree. Mr. McNuffles was vexed that Papa wouldn’t help a neighbor. And Mama was ruffled over her burnt food. If only that argument hadn’t happened, she would have remembered her food.
And such is life. It’s true that Mr. McNuffles shouldn’t have taken acorns from their tree. It’s also true that Papa needn’t have been so stingy (a realization he eventually comes to). It wasn’t right that Caspian threw acorns at Jax, and it wasn’t right for Mama to blame Papa and Mr. McNuffles’ argument. Papa reiterates that “God is kind to those who don’t follow the rules.” He then states, “When I am angry, I need God to help me. I need Jesus to forgive me and show me where I am wrong too.” The family bows there heads to pray together, asking Jesus to forgive them for their anger. They then go out and make amends with the McNuffles family.
The book ends with nine ways to help your child with anger. They remind you that anger tells us something hasn’t gone right and God gets angry too. But, being realistic, our anger usually goes wrong (rather than right). We get angry at things that don’t matter, and we think we are right to get even. Our anger tells us something is wrong. We must step back, thing about what is wrong, and think about what we can do to fix it (instead of blowing up).
Joe Hox did an excellent job in this book. There is plenty of color. The animals expressions display their emotions well, and it’s plain to see what they are feeling (anger, shock, surprise, frustration, sorrow, happiness). The environments and backgrounds are well illustrated. Micah enjoys flipping through the pages and looking at the pictures (and sits long enough for me to get about halfway through the book).
Anger surrounds us. Some people are justly angry, others not. Many people are justly angry but they don’t know how to handle that anger. It’s great to have a resource to teach your kids early on what anger really is and how God sees it. Your kids can be angry and still right wrongs on the playground. There are some Bible verses on the book’s final page that your child can have in his back pocket to help remind him that God is slow to anger, he is our refuge, and he wants us to conquer evil by doing good. Powlison’s book will help them live out God’s wisdom at home, at school, and anywhere else. Highly recommended.
- Series: Good News for Little Hearts (Book 2)
- Author: David Powlison
- Illustrator: Joe Hox
- Hardcover: 32 pages
- Age Range: 5-11 years
- Publisher: New Growth Press (October 8, 2018)
- Read a sample
Find it on Amazon and New Growth Press!
Disclosure: I received this book free from New Growth Press. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html.