Sam is so frustrated waiting his turn at the playground that a Temper shows up. Within seconds, the beastly, wild thing clears the place, and Sam happily plays alone with his new pet. But his Temper follows him everywhere, causing more and more trouble, until Sam realizes he needs to put a stop to it. How is the question … Kids will laugh at the relatable situations, while parents and teachers will enjoy the chance to talk about pet Tempers and ways to tame them.
Tired of waiting for his turn at the swings, Sam gets "madder and madder until he was the maddest he had ever been in his whole life." Suddenly, a scrawled black blob with horns, raccoonlike appendages, and a bright red mouth appears; anyone who's watched a pharmaceutical commercial will know it's the externalized version of Sam's temper. Seeing the Temper's impact makes Sam realize just how out of control it is and how hard it is to control it. But Sam's mother insists that he can't keep passing the emotional buck: "Tempers cause trouble," she says, after Temper draws an unflattering caricature of Sam's teacher on the blackboard and Sam gets sent home early. "Now you have to do something about it." Debut author Bhadra shows she can build a compelling narrative arc, and her ending is knowing and funny (the Temper moves on to a toddler). If the story can occasionally feel overwritten, it's because Arbona's (Magic Clothesline) expressionistic drawings have a fever-dream vividness. Her demented, mercurial Temper is primitivist gem the appalling dynamo that lurks within us all. Ages 3 7.