Allie All Along by L. S. Reul
Reul, L. Sarah. Allie All Along. Sterling Publishing Co, 2018.
This engaging and colourful picture book depicts the unpleasant feelings of anger in an accurate and child friendly way. The font, letter sizes, and colours of the text match the bright and exciting illustrations, bringing life to the words as they are read. The illustrations are appropriate reflections of how we might feel (a spiky, screaming little red monster) when going through the stages of difficult emotions like anger. The tone of this story is bright and exciting, and the language and storyline are simple, yet effective at getting the message across to young readers.
Reul provides insight into the life of Allie, a young girl who gets ignited with anger due to a frustration she faces. Allie’s rage and subsequent phases of coping are described and depicted in a relatable and humorous way that children would find appealing and entertaining. Allie’s older brother helps her work through her robust and difficult feelings by providing her with various outlets for her anger, thus allowing her to shed layers of anger one at a time. Each new depiction of the monster shows the rage declining, eventually turning into sadness. This teaches readers that often hiding beneath one extreme emotion is another emotion that can be reached through coping and support.
The concept of facing and working through difficult emotions is a challenging process that many people learn over time—or never at all. Coping with difficult emotions is a large part of caring for mental health and preventing the expression of emotions in unhealthy or violent ways. This makes this topic tremendously important for young readers today. This story explores this concept in a way that young readers can relate to and begin to understand. By the end of the story Allie has shed layers of anger by coping in various healthy ways with the support of her older brother. She finally becomes herself again and asks her brother for a hug.
This book offers a lesson on anger and how to cope when emotions become too overwhelming. Allie All Along would be a great addition to any elementary school classroom as well as school and public libraries.
Highly Recommended: 4 out of 4 stars
Reviewer: Chantelle Blair
Chantelle Blair is an undergraduate student in the University of Alberta’s Education program. She loves spending time with children of all ages and hopes to one day publish children’s books of her own.
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