5 Memorable Temper Tantrums from Picture Books

Big shouting day scene
Category: Bookbug

Temper tantrums are not just the reserve of babies and toddlers. From sporting celebrities and politicians to Bake Off contestants (who can forget Iain’s ‘Baked Alaska meltdown’?), there are times when it’s just not possible to hold back the emotion. Yes, everyone deserves a tantrum now and then.

The great thing about meltdowns and temper fits in picture books is that the reader gets the opportunity to act out the drama for their audience. So, prepare your lungs and off you go: here are five stories that treat dramatic emotion with the respect it deserves.


Max with a hammer
Where the Wild Things Are
Max's temper tantrum, and how he deals with the aftermath of his outburst, lies at the heart of this classic picture book. Told off by his mum for wreaking havoc, 'I'LL EAT YOU UP' Max stubbornly retorts. He is swiftly sent to his room without any supper, and here begins Max's imaginative journey to explore his "wild side".
Katie Morag throwing Ted into the sea
Katie Morag and the Tiresome Ted
The arrival of a new baby in the home is perfect fuel for a temper tantrum. Katie Morag is mightily put out when her new baby sister is born and grabs all the limelight. She is so cross that she even kicks her trusty one-eyed teddy bear into the sea in a fit of rage! Poor old Ted. Thankfully they are reunited and Katie swears it will "never ever" happen again. Well, we’ve all heard that before.
Bella shouting and throwing peas
My Big Shouting Day
Bella is having a Bad Day - her shoes aren't right, her biscuit broke and ballet is just too itchy! As parents of little ones, we all know that it's the small things that trigger the biggest emotional outbursts. Thankfully a story and cuddle from Mummy brings Bella's bad day to an end.
Marvin the mad sheep

Marvin Gets Mad
Sheep can also throw a great temper tantrum. When Molly steals Marvin's prized apple while he's sleeping, he gets very mad. He's grown mad teeth and mad horns and a mad tail. He's stomping on flowers and knocking over the chicken shed and biting cows on the tail. Eventually he falls into a huge hole in the ground, where, like all mad sheep, he is forced to have a good think about his behaviour.

Mum at the end of her tether
We are Wearing out the Naughty Step
It's worth remembering that tantrums are not only the privilege of children - grown-ups have their moments too. The exasperated mum in Inkpen's snapshot of family life has reached her limit: the dog has been painted, the hamster has been lost and she's had to cancel her much-needed exercise class. Mum's loss of emotional control lands her (quite rightly) on the naughty step!


These are just a few of our favourite temper tantrums from picture books but there are plenty more out there. Kevin's tantrum count in The Hueys in None the Number is 4 (the emotional intensity of each captured brilliantly with rain clouds and all) and watch out for the tantrum from the pigeon in Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. If you can think of any more, let us know in the comments below.