It’s no secret that learning to deal with anger is a life-long process. However, figuring out how to help children apply Biblical truths to emotions can prove challenging.
When I came across the delightful Jax’s Tail Twitches, I was excited to find an engaging story that explores how the Gospel helps us deal with anger.
In this tale, the Squirrel family faces annoyances common to everyday life. Brothers Caspian and Jax race to be first to the breakfast table, not caring if they hurt each other along the way. Papa Squirrel launches into a tirade against their neighbor Mr. McNuffle when he takes nuts under their tree. Then Mama blames Papa when their acorn crisp dinner burns.
The sweetest part of the story is how Papa humbly admits that his anger burst just like the burlap bag they were using to gather nuts. After he asks for forgiveness, Mama, Caspian, and Jax follow his example. Each one specifically names what they did wrong.
The family gathers around as Papa holds the Bible and says, “When I am angry, I need God to help me. I need Jesus to forgive me and show me where I am wrong too.”
The appendix “Helping Your Child with Anger” provides sound teaching for parents as they guide their children in dealing with anger. I love the validation that the first point makes: “Anger says that something in your world that matters to you has gone wrong.” Without that validation, humans—and especially the littlest among us—will not be able to understand the root cause and thus unlock the key to overcoming their anger.
Story creator and homeschool mom Jocelyn Flenders and editor David Powlison lay out eight more points in the appendix. These points range from the fact that God also gets angry to the realization that our anger often goes wrong. The ninth point concludes, “God’s anger is redemptive. Yours can be too.”
The book ends with “Back Pocket Bible Verses.” This page includes six verses that help us overcome anger. Each verse is laid out on the page so that it can be cut out and kept handy.
The challenge for any author is to present truth in a way that resonates with the reader’s experience. Jocelyn Flenders achieves this. My four-year-old grandson repeatedly requested this book during a recent two-week stay.
Any children’s book worth its salt has artwork that draws readers into the story. The colorful and expressive illustrations by Joe Hox beautifully flow with the text.
Jax’s Tail Twitches combines words and art to create a charming tale that is compelling and enjoyable. Although designed for 5-8 year olds, I think the appeal is a bit wider.
I can’t wait to for my grandson’s next stay when we can read more in this six-book series “Good News for Little Hearts” by Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF).