Feelings, nothing more than feelings….
My Cold Plum Lemon Pie Bluesy Mood
By Tameka Fryer Brown, illustrated by Shane W. Evans
There’s been a lot written in scientific journals today about “emotional intelligence”. How do we teach children to have healthy outlets for their feelings? How do we teach them to be responsible with words and the effects those words have on other people? Remember a lounge singer’s most famous 1970’s repertoire song, “Feelings”? The first line went something like “Feelings, nothing more than feelings….” Rather dismissive in a way of something so important in the young lives of our children. Well, the famous Fred Rogers of “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” didn’t think so. He spent a famously innovative career in Public Television building a show that in story, song and puppetry, emphasized their importance. Listen to this quote from him about accepting feelings:
There’s no “should” or “should not” when it comes to having feelings. They’re part of who we are and their origins are beyond our control. When we can believe that, we may find it easier to make constructive choices about what to do with those feelings.
Ms. Brown has given kids a book with a main character that demonstrates a very common kaleidoscope of feelings by way of a varied color palette. Your young reader is sure to identify with one or more of the hues that describe kid feelings in this very accessible way. What kind of a mood is her character in? Well, at any given moment in the day, it may vary from purple (upbeat) to gray (sort of gloomy,) to green (easy and mellow) to black (definitely MAD) to orange (all’s right in kidville) or any number of others.
My very favorite color is blue and maybe, the young boy’s too. Hey, this is by no means a “sad” blue! Turns out his responsibility post dinner, is to do dishes after the family meal that includes baked corn pudding, curry chicken and lemon pie. He’s definitely okay with that ‘cause it gives him some alone time (we ALL need that), and space to listen to tunes. He’s on a wave of feeling all’s right with the world! Food and mood do seem to dovetail at times.
Your young reader will most probably have a favorite color tinged mood with which they identify. And that provides a great vehicle for opening up discussion about moods, feelings and what we do with them besides sitting on them and letting them fester. Hey, no one expects a young reader to be that conversant on introspection, but there are teachable moments that can be found, and books can provide you and your kids with many of these “aha” moments.
The illustrations given by Shane Evans are spot on: an ocean of blue waves and suds surround the boy, hands in the sink and head in a headset, boppin’ to the beat. Very cool and so is he! Dishes fairly float away from the sink as if they are cleaning themselves in this relaxed atmosphere. This is mood indigo!
Ms. Brown has given us a very interesting look at “feelings”, that is how to take them seriously without being serious. This is not an easy subject to navigate or frame in book form for very young readers and parents sometimes, but “My Cold Plum Lemon Pie Bluesy Mood” sets the right tone, even if you’re not feeling well, great!