Finn Throws a Fit Book Poster Image

Finn Throws a Fit



Artwork gives humorous spin to tale of a "terrible two."

What parents need to know

Educational value
Not applicable
Positive messages

For parents, the message shows that kids' fits are like storms. You often don't see them coming or know what exactly set them off.  And they pass just as quickly. For kids, the message is that parents will love you no matter how you act.

Positive role models

The tone of this book is loving and supportive even though it is about a cranky toddler throwing a tantrum.  Parents try to find out what is wrong, endure the storm, and love the child when he is back to normal. 

Violence & scariness

Not really violent, though Finn's fit causes quite a storm, including thunder, lightning, flooding, an avalanche and an "earthquake that shakes the world."

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this book does a great job of showing just how fleeting, yet all-absorbing, a kid's fit can be. It includes a nice message for kids that parents will love you no matter how bad a fit can get.

Kids say

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What's the story?

When Finn has a fit, his parents are at their wits' end trying to figure out what is wrong. This is one of those days though when the cranky toddler is just out of sorts. His tantrum storms through the household and then subsides as quickly, and mysteriously, as it came.

Is it any good?


In playful artwork that is a perfect partner to the simplicity of the tale, the book captures a raging toddler-driven storm while giving a humorous spin to the whole experience. Importantly, the first image is of the angelic, smiling toddler before the tantrum begins. And, the ending again shows the happy loving family, together again after having weathered the whole experience.

Readers will love these illustrations. Drawn with dark grease pencil lines and charcoal, and painted in oils, the faces, and body positions, of the Mom, Dad, and Finn are so expressive that only a few words are needed to tell the story.  Even the dog adds to the mood. The toddler, with his yellow boots, comfy-looking blue onesie, and cuddly blanket is adorable even when upsetting the household. Throughout the pages small details add energy and humor. Just enough is shown, and just enough is said. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how they know that a fit is about to start in the book. How does Finn change from the first page when he is sitting in his green chair, holding peaches, to the next page when he has his blanket pulled around him, and a dark cloud is hovering overhead? How about throughout the rest of the book? And then on the last page...

  • What do you think made him feel that way? Why was he so cranky? What made him happy again?

  • Have you ever felt like Finn did? Do you always know why you feel cranky? What makes you happy again?

Book details

Author:David Elliott
Illustrator:Timothy Basil Ering
Genre:Picture Book
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Candlewick Press
Publication date:August 25, 2009
Number of pages:32

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Parent of a 3 year old Written bycooperbl7 July 15, 2016

Amusing and somewhat surreal representation of a toddler tantrum

This book is oddly amusing, and our son loves it. The artwork is quite unusual, and some pages are partly sketched out, partly colored in. This seems to be for effect. It features a lot of imagery of "natural disasters" occurring in the home, as a symbol of the child's mood. There is no real plot, and absolutely nothing educational about it. While it is a bit far-fetched, it could be good for teaching children to let their imagination run free... and serve as a reminder that while their mood may consume them during a fit, that the rains will eventually dry up, and the winds will die down.