An Emotional Menagerie: Feelings from A to Z

by The School of Life (Author) Rachael Saunders (Illustrator)

An Emotional Menagerie: Feelings from A to Z
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

An imaginative and engaging exploration of childhood emotions through poetry and evocative illustration.

Emotions are like animals:

No two are quite the same.

Some are quiet; some are fierce;

And all are hard to tame.

Children experience all sorts of emotions: sometimes going through several very different ones before breakfast. Yet they can struggle to put these feelings into words. An inability to understand and communicate their moods can lead to bad behavior, deep frustration, and a whole host of difficulties further down the line. Like adults, they need help to recognize and verbalize their inner state. The greater their emotional vocabulary, the more likely they are to grow into happy, healthy, and fulfilled adults.

An Emotional Menagerie is an emotional glossary for children. A book of 26 rhyming poems, arranged alphabetically, that bring our feelings to life--Anger, Boredom, Curiosity, Dreaminess, Embarrassment, Fear, Guilt, and more. The poems transform each emotion into a different animal to provide a clear and engaging illustration of its character: how it arises; how it makes us behave and how we can learn to manage its effects. Boasting a rich vocabulary, the poems also give children a wide variety of options for describing their feelings to others.

Filled with wise, therapeutic advice, brought to life through musical language and beautiful illustrations, An Emotional Menagerie is an imaginative and universally appealing way of increasing emotional literacy.

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Review quotes

Featured in The Independent's 10 best kids' motivational books that educate and inspire.

At a time of huge uncertainty, this is an engaging way to get young children to talk about their emotions.- The Independent

For older children of six and above, An Emotional Menagerie: Feelings from A-Z could be a nice option, especially during these tough, Covid-19-dominated days. This book gives young children the words to communicate how they are feeling. It features 26 rhyming poems, arranged alphabetically to bring a host of emotions to life. - The Independent

'Thoroughly 'kid friendly' in tone, organization and presentation, An Emotional Menagerie: Feelings from A to Z is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library Life Skills collections for children ages 5-11.'- Midwest Book Review

Prepare to learn, about animals, poetry and emotion, to be absorbed by the illustration and the words and to explore a beautiful menagerie. This is a book which explores some complex and difficult emotions in a very accessible style that you could start reading to younger children, leave for older children to explore alone and come back to time after time, year after year. A stunning book for the whole family to enjoy. - Armadillo Children's Books

Friendly and accessible... a great starting point for a discussion about emotions - Youth Services Book Review

Imaginative and informative. It's a book I would recommend for 7+, to share and read together and dip into as there is so much to discuss, ask questions and explore in each individual poem to develop vocabulary and understanding of emotions. - Jo Bowers, Just Imagine

I recently found An Emotional Menagerie and this book is perfect for all age groups. We are focusing on social emotional health and ways to help our kinders understand their emotions!! This books is perfect for that! - Kelly Haynes, @fromkindergartenwithlove

***Readers are saying: ***

An Emotional Menagerie is a thoughtful and engaging collection of images and poems to help young readers understand and handle their own emotions, through a clever concept, gentle verse, and imaginative illustrations.

This was such a delightful book. I want to keep it as a classroom book for my fifth graders to read through and then also read it to my 4 year old over and over. The rhymes are simple but introduce some big words in each one. It's perfect for kids of all ages as they grow and grapple with their own emotions.

Let's start off with this title. It deserves a round of applause! Full of 26 emotions, one for each letter of the alphabet, this book is written to expand vocabularies and grow emotional literacy. Each emotion has an accompanying poem and animal illustration that children will be able to tie together to make a full picture of how to temper or embrace each emotion.

An Emotional Menagerie is an essential addition to every library's Children's collection. The beautiful illustrations and poetry within the book discuss important and difficult themes.

These are poems about the different emotions. From a parent/teacher standpoint, I liked that they tell the emotion, give a small physical description of what the emotion might feel like, and then give you an idea of how to pass through the emotion. I could see a teacher focusing on 2-3 poems a day and using them to make text to self-connections with students. This would be an excellent book for that!

This is a fantastic book that teaches about emotions in healthy way. The illustrations are beautiful and make the book engaging. The book is beautifully written. I love how the author gives detailed explanations of each emotion as well as different words to describe that particular emotion. I highly recommend this to families and people with children to assist in teaching about emotions.

This is a REALLY great ABC-book about emotions! I love how perfectly fitting the poem for each emotion is, and how it really explains the emotion! I was also a bit surprised how fitting the animal examples chosen for them all were so perfect, and how the author manages to include features we recognize from the behavior of an animal into the poems in such a nice way! I will 100% have to buy this when it comes out, and will use this in the Primary School Classroom A LOT!

This was such a sweet children's tale about emotion, with some really lovely illustrations. I think this book would be incredibly helpful for children to learn more about sharing their emotions and being more open and I truly hope this book becomes accessible to all children.

This is a great resource to have on any home, library or school bookshelf, especially for any child who struggles with emotions and understanding them or why they feel certain ways.

We'll be reaching for the book over and over again in our rotation for emotional development and dialogue!

The School of Life

The School of Life is a global organization helping people lead more fulfilled lives. Through our range of books, gifts and stationery we aim to prompt more thoughtful natures and help everyone to find fulfillment.

The School of Life is a resource for exploring self-knowledge, relationships, work, socializing, finding calm, and enjoying culture through content, community, and conversation. You can find us online, in stores and in welcoming spaces around the world offering classes, events, and one-to-one therapy sessions.

The School of Life is a rapidly growing global brand, with over 7 million YouTube subscribers, 389,000 Facebook followers, 239,000 Instagram followers and 163,000 Twitter followers.

The School of Life Press brings together the thinking and ideas of the School of Life creative team under the direction of series editor, Alain de Botton. Their books share a coherent, curated message that speaks with one voice: calm, reassuring, and sane.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
School of Life
Publication date
April 20, 2021
BISAC categories
JNF042000 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Poetry | General
JNF003000 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Animals | General
JNF053050 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Social Topics | Emotions & Feelings
JNF070000 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Inspirational & Personal Growth
Library of Congress categories
Picture books

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