December 2, 2013
No Fits, Nilson! by Zachariah OHora
No Fits, Nilson!
written and illustrated by Zachariah OHora
I wasn’t sure what to expect from No Fits, Nilson! but as someone who has lived with a strong-willed child (understatement of the century), the book intrigued me because it was inspired by the author’s son and his volcanic tantrums.
In the fictional story, the narrator is a little girl named Amanda. Everywhere she goes, she brings her friend, an enormous, blue gorilla named Nilson. Well, except for the bathtub. Nilson apparently does not like water and watches from a perch nearby.
Together they play, eat breakfast and help with the grocery shopping. As sometimes happens, a scooter will bump a block tower and knock things over. When Nilson throws a fit, both he and Amanda end up in time out.
I wondered about that list part a little. Why was Amanda also in time out? Stick with the story and it all becomes clear on the last page. Nilson is Amanda’s stuffed animal friend. He has been getting credit for someone else’s fits of temper.
This really is a cute book about temper tantrums. Young readers will learn about self-control, coping mechanisms and consequences. The best part is that this all comes through the story itself so it doesn’t sound like a lecture. Instead, it is simply part of Amanda and Nilson’s day. Yet, the book isn’t unrealistic. There’s a melt down in the morning. Thing go pretty well for a while. Then they totter on the very edge of a meltdown toward the end of the story. Things haven’t just cleared up. Like any habit, dealing with this is a work-in-progress.
The acrylic paintings that illustrate the book are cartoony and fun, taking away some of the fear in having to endure someone else’s tantrum.
In spite of the more-or-less make believe friend, this is a very realistic story in that self control is praised but no one says it will be easy to achieve.