Jennifer Croft’s translation of Tina Oziewicz’s and Aleksandra Zając’s What Feelings Do When No One’s Looking has been out for nearly two weeks now and we’re delighted to be featured in a recent round-up of children’s books in the Wall Street Journal. We’re thrilled, too, to see one of Aleksandra Zając’s serene illustrations on the pages of the journal. Read the full review here. 

“Learning to identify emotions is a first step toward learning to manage them,” Meghan Cox Gurdon writes in the review, going on to describe the picture book as “a kind of primer, naming emotions, moods and impulses and the behavior they may produce.”

Gurdon’s review highlights the profound simplicity of the book, describing how Oziewicz and Zając reimagine the emotional lives of children as a series of whimsical characters or “quirky monsters.”

These monsters are not-quite recognizable renderings of creatures we all know and love. A few of the creatures resemble hedgehogs or owls; some have rounded noses and others pointed ones; most are covered with soft-looking fur; all of them are gray. We see Bliss zonked out in an oversize armchair, its frilled ears splayed wide and a beatific smile on its little gray face. Envy wears a spiteful expression as it crushes flowers underfoot: “No time to rest—there are so many beautiful things to ruin!'” Gurdon writes.

As emotions romp, protect, break, heal, or rest across the pages, children reading What Feelings Do When No One’s Looking might get a little closer to understanding and articulating why they feel the way they do. Maybe they’ll even find ways of making their Insecurities – fuzzy owl-like things that build cages – behave more like Trust, similarly strange little creatures that build, instead, bridges.

As Gurdon note, children should never forget that positive emotions “are there too, ready to kindle an inner light when no one’s looking.”