How are You Feeling Today Baby Bear?: Exploring Big Feelings After Living in a Stormy Home ISBN: 9781849054249
Published by Jessica Kingsley, 2014
This picture book for younger children is not about physical child abuse, although that is one of the categories I have put it in. Rather, it is about a little bear whose parents are in a violent relationship and how this affects him. That, surely, can be considered child abuse as well. Baby Bear lives with his parents and he is happy, his 'tummy full of sunshine'. But then he begins to hear sounds in the night, sounds of terrible violence downstairs, and he is frightened. In the morning the house is in a mess and one of the bears is sad while the other just leaves without saying anything. This state of affairs goes on for awhile until one of the Big Bears leaves home for good; Baby Bear is sad about this, although he doesn't miss the awful crashes and bangs. The next day at nursery, Baby Bear hurts another small bear and must be taken care of by a Nursery Bear, who realises he is experiencing some 'big feelings'. She is a sensitive sort who listens to Baby Bear's tale of woe and promises to get him some help. After this, Baby Bear is able to express his feeling by saying he is feeling either 'a bit rainy' or 'the tummy sunshine is out'. The direct inference is made to Baby Bear's reaction to the violence at home by being violent himself, although this is subtle. There is much about faces and how people's feelings are reflected in their expressions, and there is also a good section for parents and carers who are working with children experiencing violence on how to use the book. Baby Bear is a lovable little bear, and his troubles will be of real encouragement to children who share them. Available from Amazon, from bookshops, or from the publisher at www.jkp.com.