A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
In a simple, clear, kid-friendly way, it shows how feelings can change. Also shows the logic of cause and effect (e.g., a man gets in a bad mood after he's frightened by a stick-carrying raccoon and falls in the mud). Shows the role chance plays in our lives.
"You never know what is going to happen." Everybody can get in a bad mood once in a while. Bad moods don't stay forever; they pass. Even if you're in a bad mood, it can change if something pleasant happens to you, like someone makes you laugh, you see something surprising, or someone buys you an ice cream cone.
Positive Role Models
Curly, the little girl in a bad mood as the book opens, cheers up (she enjoys poking her brother with a stick) and obeys her mother. A sweet romance develops between the man who fell in the mud and the lady at the dry cleaners, who laughs when he takes off his pants to get them cleaned. "She took one look at Lou in his underwear, and the mood flew right out the window."
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Lemony Snicket's The Bad Mood and the Stick deals with feelings and how everyone can get in a bad mood sometime. The story pictures a bad mood like an angry-faced cloud that moves from person to person and hovers over the one who's in a bad mood -- until that person's mood changes and it moves on. But the tone is light and funny, and the inanimate stick triggers some of the action that affects people's moods. This would be a great book to spark discussion about feelings and how they can change due to changing circumstances.
Is It Any Good?
With whimsy and a knowing sense of human moodiness, Lemony Snicket helps kids see the temporary nature of a bad mood. Illustrator Matthew Forsythe's colorful, retro cartoon-like art pictures it as a hovering, movable cloud -- which helps kids grasp that a bad mood comes and goes. The Bad Mood and the Stick is delightful as a simple, funny story (they'll giggle at the man pictured in his underwear) with a touch of romance (the muddied light-skinned man falls in love with the brown-skinned lady at the dry cleaners who cleans his pants). But on another level, it can spark a discussion of feelings, how chance can affect what happens to us, and how everybody gets in a bad mood once in a while for various reasons.
The stick has a role to play, too, and can trigger a good or bad mood, depending on how it's used.
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