Written and Illustrated by: Zachariah OHora
Nilson is a nice gorilla but every once in awhile, he has huge fits when he doesn't get his way. In this story, Amelia and Nilson will learn that there are better ways to deal with their issues than throwing temper tantrums. Look over the cover and illustrations with your child, allowing him/her to make any initial comments or observations that come to mind. Ask questions like:
Make Initial Observations.
What do you notice on the front cover?
Glean Emotions from the Illustration.
How do you think Nilson feels in this picture? Why do you think he feels that way?
Flip to an Illustration that Captures Your Child's Attention.
What do you think is happening in this picture?
What do you think will happen in this story?
As You Read
The story fluctuates between when Nilson is nice and happy and when he is having a fit so incorporate this into your reading by using different tones. As you read the beginning of the story, be very happy and lighthearted but when Nilson gets upset over his tower getting knocked over, raise your voice and pretend to be angry. Let your tone emote how Nilson is feeling and acting. A large part of what makes reading enjoyable for children is the reader's enthusiasm so really play it up!
Help your child relate to Nilson by discussing times when s/he gets upset and throws fits.
For example, ask, "Do you sometimes get really upset and have a fit like Nilson? What kinds of things make you angry or upset? How do you make yourself feel better?"
Pay Attention to the Illustrations
Every once in awhile, pointing out details the illustrations is a great way to keep your child engaged as it provides more information about the story and it's characters.
For example, when Nilson doesn't want to help Amelia's mom, ask your child, "Why does Nilson want to stay home? Maybe it's because he wants to play with his toy truck instead."
Summarize and Interpret:
Every child has temper tantrums once in awhile but this story provides a great opportunity to discuss why children behave this way and how to deal with fits. Ask questions like:
- What is Nilson? Did you think that he was a stuffed animal in the beginning of the story? Why not?
- Why do people have temper tantrums?
- Why did Nilson get upset and have fits? Can you think of one reason in particular?
- Why did Amelia get upset toward the end of the story?
- How did Nilson make her feel better?
- If you have a tantrum, and I say "No fits, _______" What does that mean?
- What can you do to make yourself feel better like Amelia and Nilson?
Activity: Act Out the Story
Your child can take on the role of Nilson, the gorilla. First, s/he has to practice his/her best gorilla walk and talk. Take a moment to help your child get into character by eating a banana or picking fleas and bugs from each other's hair. Once you are in character, role play one of the scenarios in the story and let your child pretend to have a tantrum. Then say, "No fits, Nilson!" and have your child calm down and begin a different activity. Find other ways besides banana pancakes or banana ice cream to calm down like coloring a picture or finding something else to play with. This role playing will help your child realize that s/he can have control over tantrums and see that there are constructive ways of calming down. You can take turns acting out so that your child can see you do the same, as well as see how silly having a tantrum looks.
If you are looking for some good tips on how to best handle your child's temper tantrums, check out this great article by Zoobean app curator, Chrissy K., "Chrissy's 4 Tips for Tantrum Times". It includes some really useful strategies that will help you manage your child's fits.