American Psychological Association, $9.95, 64 pages
At first glance, Chillax: How Ernie Learns to Chill Out, Relax, and Take Charge of His Anger looks like a graphic novel for tweens, it’s much more ambitious. This illustrated publication of the American Psychological Association seeks to teach kids how to manage anger. Everyday situations stress Ernie out so much that he’s earned the nickname “Ernie Erupto”. Kids don’t want to hang out with him or his sister. When he starts working with a counselor at school, Ernie begins to identify why he’s angry and how to handle it. Chillax contains important tips and techniques that kids can use to keep their cool. Ernie learns about the flight-or-fight response, deep breathing and visualization. By the end, he is able to use a combination of techniques to keep his cool. While Chillax acknowledges that the transformation takes work, it is simplistic in its cheerful depiction of Ernie’s progress. Chillax isn’t necessarily a story any child would willingly read on his own. Its audience are parents or therapists looking for a text to use with a child as part of a comprehensive approach to the anger management.
Reviewed by Katie Schneider