Cover image for Sometimes I'm Bombaloo
Sometimes I'm Bombaloo
Vail, Rachel.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Scholastic Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 27 cm
When Katie Honors feels angry and out of control, her mother helps her to be herself again.
Reading Level:
AD 450 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 2.8 0.5 58484.

Reading Counts RC K-2 2.7 1 Quiz: 27817 Guided reading level: L.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



A warm book about losing your temper, and how to feel like yourself again. With its bright illustrations and sweet story, this title is the perfect read aloud for librarians, teachers, and parents.

Five-year-old Katie is a good kid -- most of the time. But sometimes...well, sometimes, say when her little brother knocks down her beautiful castle after she told him not to touch it and she knows she'll never be able to make it look that good again...sometimes Katie gets so mad she's Bombaloo, she's just not herself.

Being Bombaloo is scary. But a little time out and a lot of understanding from Mom help Bombaloo calm down. And cleaning up the mess that Bombaloo made, then sharing hugs and sorries with her family, help Katie feel like Katie again.

Author Notes

Rachel Vail, born on July 25, 1966 in Manhattan. She is an author of children's and young adult books. She grew up in New Rochelle, New York, and is a graduate of Georgetown University. Her debut novel Wonder won an Editor's Choice award from Booklist in 1991, and in 1992 her second novel, Do-Over, won that award also. She has authored several series which include Friendship Ring, Mama Rex and T, If We Kiss, and Avery Sisters Trilogy.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 3-7. Vail gets right inside a kid's psyche, and Heo's inventive artwork catches the kaleidoscope of emotions found there in a book that is both realistic and funny. Katie Honors is a self-proclaimed good kid who follows house rules and, most of the time, restrains herself from fighting with her brother. But sometimes she can't hold her anger in: she's "bombaloo." She bares her teeth and stamps her feet. Her brother doesn't fare well. She's sent to her room until she can control her temper; but with true honesty, Katie remarks that when she's bombaloo, she's not sorry: "I'm angry. I hate everybody and everything." She's so angry that she flings the clothes out of her drawers, her underpants land on her head, she laughs, and "when I laugh I'm Katie Honors again." Vail captures the intensity of emotion that children (and many adults) feel when they are angry, and then distills it with laughter. Heo uses lots of stripes and splotches of color to match Katie's emotions, and her pictures are best when focusing on Katie's face. With simple lines Heo shows not only Katie's anger but also her remorse and her fear of being out of control. Kudos to Vail and Heo for making a scary subject manageable. --Ilene Cooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

Emotions bubble over in this wise picture book about how a child deals with anger. Katie Honors is a self-described "really good kid," generally obedient, kind and conscientious. But occasionally her baby brother's penchant for wrecking her building-block castles sends Katie over the edge: "Sometimes I'm Bombaloo," she explains about her furious alter ego. "I show my teeth and make fierce noises.... I use my feet and my fists instead of my words.... I want to smash stuff." Obliged to "take some time for myself and think about it," Katie calms down and realizes, "I'm sorry and a little frightened." Vail (Over the Moon; the Friendship Ring series) speaks knowingly to both young children and parents, emphasizing love and patience. Her kid-friendly phrasing and language add immediacy and some humor to the proceedings. Much like Betsy Everitt's Mean Soup, this book's message that it's normal, if scary, to lose control sometimes is clear, and emphasized in a most satisfying way. Heo's (Father's Rubber Shoes) highly patterned mixed-media illustrations, alternately warm and perky, use vibrant backgrounds, blocks of color and carefully chosen images to depict Katie's emotional tornado. Memorable scenes include Katie seated against a stark black background during her time-out, and an up-close view of her in the throes of a Bombaloo moment. Ages 3-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 1-Anger is the subject of this wonderfully illustrated and beautifully designed picture book. Katie Honors is a good kid, who gives excellent hugs and remembers to use her napkin. But sometimes she's Bombaloo, and uses her feet and fists instead of words. "It's scary, being Bombaloo," she says, "My mother knows that. She hugs me and helps me clean up the mess Bombaloo made, and then after some sorries and kisses for my brother, we build a new castle together." Heo's bright paintings are quirky and immediate, and show a Bombaloo world that's slightly askew. Constantly changing perspective, color, and typeface project Katie's roller coaster of emotions. The subject and age of the character in this title bear a very close resemblance to those in Molly Bang's When Sophie Gets Angry-Really, Really Angry- (Scholastic, 1999), yet they are different enough in voice and mode of resolution that most collections will want both.-Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.