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Ups and Downs

Ups and Downs: A Book of Emotions

Written and illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka
Candlewick, 2023
Picture Book, 32 pages
Ages 2–7
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-53622-737-6

Awards & Good Things

  • A Midwest Independent Booksellers Assoc. Bestseller

  • Star Tribune Holiday Book Recommendation

Book Description

Simple words and tender, nuanced illustrations follow three young children as they traverse emotional highs and lows over the course of a school day. The wide spectrum of emotions covered—far beyond happy and sad—invites readers to share their own contradictory, unpredictable, ever-present feelings. Vetted by an expert in the science of children’s emotions, this day in the inner life of three kids encourages first steps toward emotional literacy and is a satisfying narrative that ends with the adorable trio converging after school in the park—ready for play!

Look Inside

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Ups and Downs - inside the book
Ups and Downs - inside the book
Ups and Downs - inside the book
Ups and Downs - inside the book
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“Children will feel reassured to have their own emotions validated, perhaps under circumstances they’ve experienced, and to note that the book ends happily. The soft gouache illustrations are comforting; occasional onomatopoeic words add dramatic interest to scenes. . . . Young readers will feel good about this book that mirrors everyday experiences.”


“The text, primarily a series of descriptive, somewhat sophisticated single words, is expanded by gouache illustrations that humorously and thoughtfully convey the story.”


“A child’s moods can change in an instant, and in Wohnoutka’s “Ups and Downs” they do, on every page. This very simple book is illustrated with his trademark fun and funny gouache paintings, with no more than one or two words on each page. It’s perfect for very young children, who will identify — and sympathize — with the rapidly changing emotions of the characters.”

Star Tribune

Downloadable Activity Sheets

* A simple creative writing activity
* How to Apologize coloring and drawing sheet