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How to Apologize

How to Apologize

Written by David LaRochelle
Illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka
Candlewick, May 11, 2021
Picture Book, 32 pages
Ages 4–8

Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-53620-944-0

Awards & Good Things

  • A Junior Library Guild Selection
  • Amazon Best Book
  • Parents magazine’s 30 Best Children’s Books of 2020
  • Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Books 2020
  • Evanston Public Library’s Great Books for Kids List 2020

Book Description

Wouldn’t the world be a better place if everyone knew how to apologize? Luckily, this humorous guidebook is full of practical tips about when, why, and how to say you’re sorry. From a porcupine who accidentally popped his friend’s balloon to a snail who was running so fast he stepped on a sloth’s toes, hilarious examples and sweet illustrations abound. For both listeners who are just learning and older readers who need a refresher, this book will come as a welcome reminder that even though apologizing can be hard, it doesn’t have to be complicated.

Look Inside



 • Amazon Editors’ Pick: “Best of the Month” for May

“The perfect balance of humor and gravity delivers the message in an appealing way, and even the most outlandish scenarios are accessible. Children and adults alike can see themselves in both the aggrieved party and the wrongdoer, all presented with understanding and compassion. Equally useful as a lesson on social-emotional dynamics and as a story, this book has a place on every shelf. A necessary and entertaining approach to conflict resolution.”

Kirkus (starred review)

“Humorous examples of sincere and insincere apologies drive the messages home, while the illustrations continue to provide comic relief as reparation and restoration of relationships are achieved. VERDICT Straightforward text combined with funny illustrations make for an instructive primer on how to apologize. Children will delight in the hilarious animal antics while absorbing the explanatory lesson without didacticism.”

School Library Journal

“With applicability well beyond its reading level, this latest outing from the creators of See the Cat: Three Stories about a Dog and other clever romps focuses on the importance of apologizing for accidents or offenses and how to do it properly. Wohnoutka lightens the earnest tone of LaRochelle’s pitch with comical scenes of anthropomorphic cartoon animals. Along with rightly acknowledging that it might be hard, or even impossible, to fix mistakes, the author closes with a promise that saying sorry and meaning it will make you and, more important, the other person feel better.”


“Previous collaborators LaRochelle and Wohnoutka (Geisel Medalists for See the Cat) are loving but firm in this compassionate guide to apologizing. Straightforward narration underlines the importance of sincerity without excuses even if the one you’ve offended “owes you an apology too” (rambling examples of what not do make great readalouds). The gouache cartooned vignettes, rendered in crisp outlines and soft washes of color, have immediacy and verve that’s both harrowing and heartfelt; while the animal characters are engaged in amusingly exaggerated situations, both parties’ emotions are thoroughly authentic. If readers feel the pang of recognition, they’ll also see that making amends is both edifying and evergreen.”

Publishers Weekly

Downloadable Activity Sheets

Visit David LaRochelle’s website for free downloadable extension ideas.