Otto and the Angry Donga

A Story About Anger Management for Kids and Parents

Children - Picture Book
28 Pages
Reviewed on 12/10/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Jane Komussar was born and raised in Estonia. She moved west when she turned 25, where she began her work with children. It wasn’t until the birth of her son, Otto, she turned to writing. Her first book, an Estonian baby food cookbook, was published in 2009 and reached bestseller status in days. A single mother, Jane is an entrepreneur determined to nourish her businesses that have allowed her to be flexible and focus on raising her son. She loves seeing how children navigate their emotions as they slowly mature and develop. ‘Otto and the Angry Donga’ is her latest children’s
book and a testament to her passion. Jane currently lives in the UK.

    Book Review

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.

Jack Magnus

Otto and the Angry Donga is a children’s concept picture book written by Jane Komussar and illustrated by Karel Korp. Otto and his mum had happy lives and shared a cozy home in England, but sometimes Otto was sad. He would get mad at other times, and he’d pick fights with other kids in school, shout and slam doors, and generally make life awful for everyone around him -- as well as himself.

Otto’s dad had vanished one day before all this began. Otto’s mom knew how confused and upset her son was at losing his dad. Was this why he got so angry? One day, something strange happened. Otto got so angry that a fireball burst out of the palm of his hand. He was amazed to see it and watched as it flew up into the air and then returned to earth. When Otto told his mom what happened, she wondered what had made him that angry. Then his mom had an idea. She knew that getting mad or upset was something everyone experienced. She suggested Otto draw a picture of his anger, of the angry fireball, and to name it. Maybe he could learn about his anger this way

Jane Komussar’s Otto and the Angry Donga shows kids that strong feelings, like anger, are something we all have at some point in our lives, and, through Otto’s experiences, they learn how to master and control those feelings. I loved seeing how Otto’s mom works with him to picture and name his anger, and then has him get his teacher involved in the process. Watching as Otto sees the effect his anger has on others is moving and inspirational. Karel Korp’s illustrations bring Otto, his mom, and the Angry Donga to life. Each panel is brightly and brilliantly colored and effectively draws the reader into the story. Otto and the Angry Donga is highly recommended.

Patricia Reding

The first thing that attracts one about Otto and the Angry Donga by Jane Komussar is the bold and bright artwork by illustrator Karel Korp. The images invite readers to open the book and begin to turn pages—which are sure to draw little ones in—as the author starts with a bit of a mystery. It seems that Otto and his mum, living in England, experience a change when one day Otto’s dad disappears. This makes Otto sad and at times angry, causing him to scream and slam doors. One day, with great anger, he shoots a fireball from his hands into the air. There it flies, hot, angry, and agitated. His mum, realizing the fireball is an expression of Otto’s anger, asks him to draw a picture of how he feels. Otto draws the fireball, which he calls, a “Donga.” When he shows the picture to his teacher, she suggests he put it in a bottle with a stopper so that it cannot get loose. Then, one day when the Donga escapes because Otto cannot control his feelings, Otto learns an important lesson about how his uncontrolled anger can affect others.

Jane Komussar, the author of Otto and the Angry Donga, shares Otto’s story about the importance of identifying his feelings and of learning what to do with them. I was pleased to see that the story provided Otto with the means for containing his anger, while still recognizing that his feelings existed and that, at times, it was important for Otto to be able to express those feelings. Otto’s mum suggests that there may be times when Otto needs a place where he can safely express his feelings without risking harm to others. She also lets him know that one day he might be able to put his anger away for good. But it is Otto who may bring understanding to other children as he comes to appreciate that he is “the boss” of his feelings and it is important he learns to show them in a positive way.