“When You Just Have to Roar”, by Rachel Robertson. (Book Review)

Even sweet little Dollies sometimes need to ROAR!

In Rachel Robertson’s “When You Just Have to Roar!”, a teacher helps her preschool students practice managing emotions and behaviors so they can have a really successful and fun day together at school. Ms. Mya is feeling how a typical preschool teacher might feel when their students are getting a little chaotic in the classroom.  Jamilla is jumping. Masha is making a mess. Reese is roaring like a lion. Ms. Mya gathers the children together to talk about the best ways to play, have fun and the proper way to behave in a classroom setting so that the day is fun for everyone – and easy for Ms. Mya to manage.

Don’t judge this book by it’s cover. If you thought by the title that it may have been just about kids being loud, roaring, and acting silly, etc. you are incorrect. This is a well-written book with a big message… Children are often seen as “misbehaving” when frankly, they are not being naughty, they are simply not sure of how they are supposed to be behaving! They have not been taught or shown or spoken to about what is expected of them in the classroom, especially if they are first time student, so behavior that is seen as rambunctious and inappropriate is really just a lack of understanding. Once a child knows what is expected of them at school they can practice at home and at school the positive behaviors such as basic life skills, paying attention, being quiet when told to, following directions, focusing, and managing emotions, particularly anger.

The illustrations are full of great colors,  pictures showing very real scenarios with with how kids are sitting and playing. Definitely of note is the variety of diversity in the classroom, which is a welcomed cast of multicultural characters! I  love the teacher’s list of what the children can in turn expect from her: She’ll listen, believe, support, respect, teach and love them. This creates a great environment for learning and for the children to feel safe and secure. This message from the teacher is really quite touching, and it is what you’d hope the person you are trusting to look after and educating your child all day for you would say and feel towards your child.

This is the perfect book for teachers and librarians to share with their students (probably rather than buying it just for your child). I think elementary school children (age 3-6) will understand the lesson. And teachers, after reading, can carry it through. Teachers should read the book to children to introduce these concepts of classroom expectations and reinforce it often within the classroom.

You can find out more about “When You Just Have to Roar” here http://priscillaprentice.com/

Title: When You Just Have To Roar
Publisher: RedLeaf Lane Press
Release Date: April 14, 2015