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Reviewed by Deborah Lloyd for Readers' Favorite
This children’s book teaches a universal lesson – how children can manage their strong emotions, especially anger. Otto lives with his mother in England, and one day his father disappeared. Otto has had no contact from him and often feels angry. “He screamed, slammed doors, and got into fights with other kids.” He felt out of control. One day, he was so angry, a fireball came out of his hands. Mum asked him to draw what he saw and name it. Otto named the red fireball Angry Donga. He took the drawing to school and showed it to his teacher, Mrs. Williams. She put the drawing into a glass bottle and put a cork in it. What happened with Angry Donga when Otto became mad again is something children will find relatable. Author Jane Komussar has written an invaluable, informative children’s book in Otto and the Angry Donga.
There are many wonderful attributes to this book – the depiction of Otto’s anger; his mother’s acceptance of the emotion, as well as her suggestion on how to deal with it; the teacher’s support; Otto’s ability to keep the Donga in the bottle, most of the time. Artist Karel Kopp’s delightful illustrations bring Donga and other fictional characters to life. Children will be enthralled by them. This is a book that parents will read over and over again and can refer to it when a child is struggling to keep their emotions under control. Otto and the Angry Donga by Jane Komussar is a book that should be part of every child’s library.