Clovis Keeps His Cool, by Katelyn Aronson

If anyone needs to keep a tight rein on his temper, it’s a literal bull in a china shop.

Clovis used to play linebacker for the Cloverdale Chargers and help his granny in her tea shop. Since Granny died, though, and left the shop to him, Clovis has traded tackling for polishing and practices a few moments of meditation each day in order to keep a peaceful heart. He repeats Granny’s saying: “Grace, grace, nothing broken to replace.” In spite of his best efforts, though, the bullies just won’t leave him alone.

Eve Farb illustrates this hilariously motivational picture book in cool blues and whites, with just a spot of red here and there, until the page where Clovis—spoiler alert—loses his cool. The cover sets the tone with this oversized head of livestock seated primly at his delicate table, pouring a cup of tea and fuming at the hecklers in the window. A few pages later, the painting of the hulking Clovis, seated on the floor with his eyes closed and his little hooves raised in the lotus position, is priceless. The amusement continues on with page after page of fragile china teetering perilously close to the roughhousing, clumsy animals, until… well, you can imagine the result.

Little ones with anger issues or those dealing with real bullies will discover coping strategies for maintaining control and defusing confrontations, but they will also learn about forgiveness, both for the aggressive meanies and for themselves when they fail to live up to their own expectations.

This beautiful picture book of a bull trying desperately to be good may be just right for an earnest little one of your acquaintance.

Highly recommended.

Disclaimer: I read a library copy of this book. Opinions expressed are solely my own and may not reflect those of my employer or anyone else.

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