Manny’s Mood Clouds
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
We learn about Manny’s moods through the eyes of his younger brother Elijah. He tells how his brother’s emotions are very quick to change and with it the way in which he acts; they’re so big they seem like coloured clouds that hover above his head. When he’s angry the cloud is red (that’s when Manny feels most frustrated); a blue cloud signifies sadness – then Manny wants to be left alone. A purple one comes when he experiences panic and is scared of everything; yellow represents happiness – Manny is ‘so happy he doesn’t know what to do with himself.’
Yes we all have little clouds, explains his brother but the difficulty for Elijah is the unpredictability of his brother’s mood changes. These aren’t like other people’s clouds, these are so big they’re overwhelming.
Their supportive parents decide eventually that Manny needs more help from someone with specialist knowledge so they take him to meet a therapist. She says that Manny has what is called a ‘mood disorder’ and gradually with her help, along with the support of his empathetic parents and sibling, he can be helped to work through his feelings. No, Manny’s clouds cannot be completely eradicated, but there are practical coping strategies that the brothers can do together.
The examples given in the book are matched with the colours of Manny’s clouds which is especially helpful for families looking to support a child. It’s good to see that there’s a final spread showing a variety of other people who have mood clouds
The tone of the narration is a matter of fact one and the accompanying bright cartoon style illustrations keep the tenor of the book light and accessible for young children.
Backmatter written by clinical psychologist, Aimee Daramus offers some useful resources and tips for parents and carers of children with mood disorders.