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Heute bin ich

Title: Heute bin ich (Today, I am)*

Author/Illustrator: Mies Van Hout

Age Group: 0-4

Synopsis: The brightly illustrated depiction of different fish focuses on emotions in an amazingly clever and fun way.

The Low Down:

We talk a lot about emotions beyond happy, sad, mad at home. It’s not uncommon for Bug to say, “I am frustrated!” Usually just the utterance of this alerts me to growing tensions and we can avoid a total break down. Sometimes not. Oh well, I’m not perfect. I want Bug to be able to express himself just as succinctly in German, especially as Kindergarten looms ever more near. Heute bin ich is one of the new books I’ve recently purchased to help. It’s fabulous illustrations are a kid-magnet and the text extremely useful for everyday.

There is no real plot to this gem. Each turn of the page reveals a new fish and in turn a new emotion. They vary from typical happy and angry to frazzled, jealous, and carefree. The fish are the very embodiment of each of their emotions giving life to these words that can be somewhat confusing, especially to little ones who are just giving words to these strange feelings. The one word per page transforms this into a type of feelings-dictionary.

The entire book is illustrated on a black background causing the fish to almost pop-off the page. Van Hout gives the entire story the feeling of a sketch book at times. The fish vary from strong, vibrant lines to those completed with seemingly quick strokes. But it is apparent that each stroke is intentional the farther that the reader proceeds into the story. Each page in stunning in not only it’s beauty but it’s ability to capture a snapshot of the feelings that we all sort through daily.

Story Tips:

  1. Let your little one guess the feeling before reading the text.
  2. Little ones have so much they need to sort through. Giving them words for their feelings is a great way to help them categorize and deal with emotions.

I need more!

Van Hoot has a great number of books that all seem to adhere to this same style. Playground, Surprise, and Friends are all available in English. For his English website go here, click the elephant, and then look on the left hand side. There’s a link for the English version of his site which is great as my Dutch is non-existent: http://www.miesvanhout.nl/

Add to my library:

*The title for the English version is Happy





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