Felix After the Rain is an excellent tool for mental health awareness -Youth Services Book Review
Buy Felix After the Rain
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
Genre: Picture book
What did you like about the book? This is such an important story because it addresses the sadness that children sometimes feel and how this can negatively impact their mental health and happiness. This story begins with the words “Felix was a terribly unhappy boy.” The reader can see this through Felix’s unhappy expression and slouched posture, but also because everything is dark and gloomy around Felix–grass, trees, houses, and the sky. Because of his sadness, Felix carries around an enormous black suitcase. Felix does not know what is inside the suitcase, but the reader learns that it is filled with all kinds of negative emotions. These unhappy feelings crept into the suitcase on different occasions–when his grandmother died, when his friends teased him, and when his dad was angry at him. Felix constantly drags this suitcase around with him wherever he goes and it continues to get heavier and heavier. After lugging his suitcase up a steep hill, Felix puts down the suitcase and pauses for a little rest. Before you know it, he has fallen fast asleep. A curious little boy comes along and decides to open the suitcase to peek inside. This action unleashes a dark storm into the sky and this is represented by faces with words coming out of their mouths and tears streaming down their faces. After the storm settles, the sky is clear and beautiful, there is color on the trees and the flowers, and Felix has a smile on his face. Felix now feels as light as a feather and he goes bounding down the hillside noticing the beauty in the world. He now feels he is free to enjoy the things and people around him.
The author created the artwork for this story and the illustrations enhance the mood of Felix. The first half of the book is filled with dark illustrations, mostly black and gray. When Felix lets go of his negative feelings, however, the illustrations become bright and colorful providing a very optimistic feeling for the reader.
Anything you did not like about the book. Nothing
To whom would you recommend this book? Perfect for children between the ages of three and seven. This book could be used as a tool to bring up the topic of mental health with children and how they might also have a “suitcase” of pent up emotions that are inhibiting their happiness with themselves and others.
Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries, preschools, daycares centers, anyone who works with children between the ages of three and seven.
Where would you shelve it? Picture book
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes, mental health is such an important topic, even with very young children, and this book would be an excellent tool to begin discussions.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Kristin Guay, former youth services librarian.
Date of review: March 5, 2020