In this charming book, Benny the Bird leads the way through the neighborhood of the emotions and a variety of characters who portray them in singsong rhyme. The hovering Bird points out each character and lets young readers know that everyone feels things and that’s okay. Tate Smiles, for example, is a happy person. Sassafras Sadstone, on the other hand, says:
My heavy heart aches and my head hangs low.
My shaky voice breaks while my big tears flow.
My lips curve down. My frown’s as big as can be!
I am down in the dumps. No one’s as blue as me!
Greeley Grumps is on Madfire Mountain and Whoa O. McGosh is shocked! Binko Lovington’s arms are open wide: “I’m cuddly, snuggly, soft and / sweet, and full of love inside.” These delightful personas describe the common feelings that accompany everyone through the ups and downs of life. The feelings one might expect—like joy or sadness—are joined by less expected ones: disbelief, embarrassment, the anxiety of waiting, and also the kind feelings that inspire sharing.
The included audio CD is a musical read-along which begins with a marching tempo and proceeds to tell the story in other musical styles and playful rhyme. Recommended by teachers and child psychologists, this book is a marvelous tool to let children know that whatever they are feeling is normal. Parents and caretakers have an opportunity to explain further as they turn the vibrantly illustrated pages, while reading aloud or listening to the musical text. This is a book of great appeal and importance. Piper Quinn will continue the Up and Down Town series. For ages 3-8.