Brave as a Lion: A fun way to explore feelings with 2-5-year-olds through play

Brave as a Lion: A fun way to explore feelings with 2-5-year-olds through play

By Author / Illustrator

Teresa Bellon, Mama Makes Books


Mental Health & Wellbeing

Age range(s)



Mama Makes Books




Board book




Are you feeling as BRAVE as a lion or as WORRIED as a warthog? Find the brave inside you by roaring like a lion. How do you feel now?

A positive, energetic and playful way for children aged 2 to 5 years to recognise their feelings and lift their mood. The different animal characters visualise each feeling - from brave to worried, cuddly to lonely - so children can identify and communicate their own emotions. Underneath the puzzle pieces are funny or reassuring things for children to do to lift their mood or turn negative feelings into more positive ones.

Self-regulating feelings is a learned skill. This book offers strategies for children to practise, such as fun physical activities, mindfulness, breathing techniques and reassurance. The book also offers parents and carers a tool to open conversations to foster good mental health through play.

The double-sided puzzle pieces fit together for extra fun - good for concentration and mastering fine motor skills.

Feelings included: brave, worried, cuddly, lonely, calm, jumpy, bold, shy, strong, lazy.

Also available in the Choose Your Mood Puzzle Book series is Happy as a Lamb, which focuses on emotions: happy, grumpy, excited, sad, safe, scared, joyful, angry, proud, embarrassed.



Brave as a Lion is a book from the 'Choose Your Mood, Express Your Feelings' collection by publisher Mama Makes Books. It can be read differently every time with a different emotive puzzle created with each read, depending on how we are feeling as we choose our moods.

This book provides a creative and light-hearted way of exploring our emotions as we visually depict the puzzle of emotions we experience and feel inside. Perhaps you're feeling calm like a panda, or maybe you're feeling jumpy like a kangaroo? Some days we feel as strong as an ox and other days as lazy as a hippo.

This book is perfect for toddlers right up to primary school age when children are experiencing a whole host of emotions and learning to articulate them and feel at ease with them. This book teaches children so many adjectives to describe feelings, from brave to worried and shy to bold.  This vocabulary has accompanying illustrations to depict how you might spot this feeling in a person. For example, the child that's feeling lazy has a sad face with relaxed eyes and his head resting on his hands. Drawing children's attention to these gestures can help them with feeling empathy towards others and identifying how others may be feeling.

This series is also a great support for children who find it difficult to feel comfortable with expressing how they are feeling. Identifying an animal can be a gentle way of easing them in to recognising when they are feeling a certain way. Selecting a puzzle piece as a visual tool for communicating a feeling can also support a child on their journey to accepting and communicating how they feel.

I would highly recommend having these books available in calming spaces or spaces of reflection and regulation within the home, childcare and educational settings. Have you taken the time to stop and name how you're feeling today?

Board book / Reviewed by Jessica Bunney, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 3+


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