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The Way I Feel Hardcover – January 1, 2000

182 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

First-time author and artist Cain treads familiar ground here with a picture book that pales in comparison to Jamie Lee Curtis's subtler and snappier Today I Feel Silly. From scared to shy, bored to jealous, Cain covers the emotional waterfront in a series of rhymes paired with pastel pencil drawings featuring elflike children. The opening spread, "silly" ("Silly is the way I feel when I make a funny face/ and wear a goofy, poofy hat that takes up lots of space"), casts a child in a rainbow-colored clown outfit against a sunny yellow backdrop and heralds the book's main artistic conceitAa palette picked to suit each mood. "Bored," for instance, is played out on a background of drab tans and browns, while "angry" steams with fiery reds and purples. Though energetic and bright, the cartoonlike illustrations skate close to being strident, while the verses are pedestrian ("Sometimes I feel so very sad and really don't know why./ Instead of playing and having fun, I cry and cry and cry"). Ages 4-8. (Nov.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.


Charming! -- Seattle Times

Children who struggle to express their feelings of frustration may feel The Way I Feel was written just for them. -- Chicago Parent

Strong, colorful and expressive images. -- Children's Bookwatch

Wonderful for teaching how to deal with emotions. -- Publishers Marketing Association, Benjamin Franklin Awards

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Parenting Press; 1 edition (January 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1884734715
  • ISBN-13: 978-1884734717
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 9.5 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (182 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,217 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Janan (Koutny) Cain grew up in Darien, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. As a young girl, she loved going to her dad's office (he had a display graphics business) and drawing with the professional tools found there: artist's markers and huge paper tablets. Her mother was always involved in various craft projects, such as ceramics, decoupage and toll painting. There was never a question in Janan's mind as to the career she'd pursue. After high school she earned an Associate of Arts degree in Visual Communications at the Art Institute of Colorado in Denver.

Janan started out as a graphic designer in 1982 doing keyline and paste-up. She was employed by various design studios around Chicago and Colorado Springs before getting seriously interested in illustration as a career. Eventually she landed at Tom Cain Design (who was to become her future father-law), a package design studio outside Chicago. Tom encouraged Janan to hone her illustration skills in her spare time on the job, and ultimately she became a full-time illustrator. Janan's artwork spans a broad range of projects, from corporate campaigns and consumer packaging, to branding and communication design for Fortune 500 companies. Janan worked with many different techniques, including pen and ink, pastels, gouache, acrylics, airbrush, colored pencil, scratchboard and computer illustration.

In 1993, Janan had her first daughter, Emily, and stopped working full-time. Around the time her second daughter, Isabella, was two years old, Janan wanted to teach them words for their emotions but couldn't find any good books for young children dealing with that topic. Being an illustrator, she decided to create her own book and the idea for The Way I Feel was born. The Way I Feel is among the best-selling children's picture books of all time winning numerous awards and accolades.

Janan has since focused her energies on drawing and illustration, and currently practices freelance design and illustration from her studio overlooking her garden in Riverside, Illinois. Janan loves to garden and spend time with her family which includes her spoiled cocker spaniel, Oliver. Her true passion (or obsession) is riding her horse, Finn. She and Finn have begun showing dressage and hope to have many years together riding trails and winning ribbons.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

237 of 249 people found the following review helpful By Diane M. Young on July 15, 2005
Format: Board book Verified Purchase
The regular hardcover version of this book is WONDERFUL. My five year old and I have been reading it together for two years, and now he loves to read it on his own.


We misplaced our well-worn Scholastic version, so I bought this board book. Today it arrived, and off the top of my head I can see that it's missing the sections on Thankful, Jealous, Bored, and Disappointed and Frustrated.

I can understand having an abridged board book version for younger kids that doesn't include these subtler feelings, but that fact should be made clear. It's not mentioned in the book itself, so perhaps Amazon doesn't know about it.

Needless to say, I'm disappointed and frustrated. I'll be returning this copy and ordering the full version.
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74 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca of Amazon HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 24, 2003
Format: Hardcover
"Feelings come and feelings go.
I never know what they'll be.
Silly or angry, happy or sad-
They're all a part of me!"

Have you ever had a day where you have been experiencing such a wide array of stressful emotions, you just need a good laugh? Well this book turned out to be quite healing when my husband found it and decided to read it to me. I was more than amused. He took great "glee" in saying I was definitely the girl with the ponytail on the top of her head. We also had a good laugh over:

"Angry is how I feel right now,
I shout with a mighty roar.
I mostly want to frown and growl
and stomp upon the floor."

Jana Cain has beautifully illustrated the book in pastel shades. Each page reflects the emotions in the color you would imagine an emotion to be. The "angry page" is red while the "happy page" bursts with yellow from the sun shining down on a girl on a swing.

The emotions presented in words and pictures include: silly, scared, disappointed, happy, sad, angry, thankful, frustrated, shy, bored, excited, jealous, and proud.

This book was also created to encourage children to recognize their emotions. In the back of the book there is "a note to parents" showing how this book can be used to help children understand what circumstances make them feel happy, sad, jealous, and so on. You can then discuss the emotion and decide which action is best when you feel that emotion. "It is not okay to hit people or throw things, but it is okay to stomp your feet."

Jana Cain's family posed for the illustrations and enjoy swimming, biking, hanging out with friends and now understand all their emotions. Some day they are looking forward to traveling the world and experiencing their emotions in new places.

~The Rebecca Review
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 27, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is my three year old's favorite book, and it has done a lot of good for him! He first took to it because of the fun artwork, and catchy rhymes. Since we have started reading about it, he's been talking about his feelings all the time, from saying things like "I'm so happy right now" to "Do you feel frustrated, mommy?", which is really suprising coming from him! We've been able to talk to him about other things now that he understands feelings better and what they mean. So I highly recommend this book to everyone, and am looking forward to her writing another one.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Avalon on May 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love this book! It has a wide variety of emotions for my sons to identify with, beyond happy, sad and mad. Frustrated? You bet! Toddlers can really identify with this but it is rarely in books. The pictures really showed the feelings! This book was perfect for helping kids know how they feel and put a name to it. It also showed silly and angry as equal but different emotions with no negative conotations to being bored or mad .
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36 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Lisa N on December 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The idea behind this book is a great one. I read the description of it and hoped it was just the book to help my 4 year old learn more and have deeper discussions about a variety of feelings. I was appalled however when reading this book that it portrays so many things in such an influential way that results in kids wanting to replicate negative behavior or thinking they should feel more negative than my genuinely happy boy usually feels. Studies show that often books intended to teach "good things" (like manners for example) begin by showing the bad behavior and therefore unintentionally teach kids ways to "behave badly." Sadly, this book does that and is so influential in a negative way, I threw it away after reading it to him only once. Nevertheless, it did take some time to get these images out of his mindset...

Here are some examples:
1) For "scared," it shows a terrified looking boy in a creepy dark room and explains that he's scared of the dark. (After reading this book, my son talked constantly about being scared of the dark. I honestly feel this book made him view the dark as being scary whereas he never seemed scared before.)
2) For "shy," it says something about not wanting to look at strangers. ok, legit. But, again, after this book my son became much worse at looking at strangers than he ever was and quoted the book and that he's "shy." I feel he labelled himself and started trying to hide behind that label. While I was a shy child, so I do understand, I feel this book was not helpful on the "shy" feeling.
3) Jealous - another very scary looking scene shows a parent happy with a younger sibling while the older sibling looks extremely unhappy and is feeling jealous. I flipped right past that page. I didn't want to plant the seeds in my son's head on this one...
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