Sorry (Really Sorry)
“This lovely picture book is a great addition to any storytime. Young readers will be encouraged to discuss how to best handle negative emotions without hurting others and consider the importance of apologizing. An important message for readers of all ages.”
Cow is in a bad mood because she has muddy hooves. She throws some mud at Duck, who happens to come by. Duck, now with mud on her face, complains. But Cow only says, “I felt like it. . . . And I’m not sorry.”
Thus starts a chain reaction that passes on bad moods, unkind behavior, and negative reactions from one farm animal to the next.
Duck, annoyed by Cow, picks on Frog who then insults Goat. When confronted with their misdeeds they each apologize, but only under pressure, and we know they are not sorry at all.
When Pig is bothered by Goat, he breaks down crying.
Then Dog appears and, finally, acts like a friend. Pig, in all her misery, claims, “I don’t even like you.” But Dog breaks the cycle of negative behavior and reminds Pig, “I know you like me. We eat lunch together every day.”
Pig gets to air its grievances and Dog gives Pig “a big, long lick.” A simple act of kindness and everything changes. Now Pig feels better and a new chain reaction begins. This one aims at making the others feel good. They each realize that they made a mistake and strive to make up for it by truly apologizing and showing kindness. A sandwich for Bird, a love note for Frog . . . until they all swim with cow, who can finally say, “Feel better now.”
Bliss’ illustrations are bold and light. The watercolors show the progression of each animal’s emotions, from bad moods to making an effort to elevate others.
The book’s important message, how anger and a bad mood can be easily passed on, is delivered with humor and the easy storyline. The book reminds us to consider others’ feelings and that we have a choice of how we react even if someone acts unkind to us.
Young readers may discuss how these chain reactions often start with a small trigger but can soon infect several others with negative feelings and a bad mood. Everything depends on how we react. Why was Dog able to break the negative cycle and act in kindness? How can we be more like Dog and not like Cow? We all can stop the spread of negative emotions through kindness, even when we have been provoked or bullied.
The book also invites readers to reflect on why a quick and insincere “I’m sorry” is meaningless and doesn’t make up for the hurt we caused by being mean. And who hasn’t mumbled such phony apology?
The end leaves readers wondering if new problems will arise when Horse is bothered by flies. How will Horse react? Has Horse caught on and won’t pass on its annoyance to anyone else?
This lovely picture book is a great addition to any storytime. Young readers will be encouraged to discuss how to best handle negative emotions without hurting others and consider the importance of apologizing. An important message for readers of all ages.