To many if not most children, a first visit to a car wash can be a terrifying experience.
Crespo opens her My Emotions and Me series with—as the Mood-o-Meter on the front cover indicates—“Scared.” Behind a homemade shark mask, young J.P. is fierce enough at home, but a trip through the wash in the family car plunges him into paroxysms of dread: “The giant octopus tried to cover our car with slime. / Then it tried to smash us. I couldn’t see anything. And there were creepy noises all around.” In Sirotich’s very simple cartoon illustrations, the car wash becomes an undersea scene featuring a huge orange octopus. Once J.P. remembers that “I am a brave shark,” he turns the tables—though not without empathy. As the toothy predator, he smiles and apologizes after making the octopus cry and then realizing that it “just wanted to play.” Co-published J.P. and the Polka-Dotted Aliens does similar bibliotherapeutic work with (as the Mood-o-Meter puts it) “Mad,” as J.P. modifies his initial response to two girls (thicker skinned than the octopus) who force him to share a playground. Both episodes close with advice for parents and a short reading list.
Quick, cut-and-dried behavior modeling to share with children in the wakes of common emotional tempests. (Picture book. 4-6)