Quick, cut-and-dried behavior modeling to share with children in the wakes of common emotional tempests.

READ REVIEW

J.P. AND THE GIANT OCTOPUS

FEELING AFRAID

From the My Emotions and Me series

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)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8075-3975-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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A valuable asset to the library of a child who experiences anxiety and a great book to get children talking about their...

RUBY FINDS A WORRY

Ruby is an adventurous and happy child until the day she discovers a Worry.

Ruby barely sees the Worry—depicted as a blob of yellow with a frowny unibrow—at first, but as it hovers, the more she notices it and the larger it grows. The longer Ruby is affected by this Worry, the fewer colors appear on the page. Though she tries not to pay attention to the Worry, which no one else can see, ignoring it prevents her from enjoying the things that she once loved. Her constant anxiety about the Worry causes the bright yellow blob to crowd Ruby’s everyday life, which by this point is nearly all washes of gray and white. But at the playground, Ruby sees a boy sitting on a bench with a growing sky-blue Worry of his own. When she invites the boy to talk, his Worry begins to shrink—and when Ruby talks about her own Worry, it also grows smaller. By the book’s conclusion, Ruby learns to control her Worry by talking about what worries her, a priceless lesson for any child—or adult—conveyed in a beautifully child-friendly manner. Ruby presents black, with hair in cornrows and two big afro-puff pigtails, while the boy has pale skin and spiky black hair.

A valuable asset to the library of a child who experiences anxiety and a great book to get children talking about their feelings . (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0237-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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An unfortunately simplistic delivery of a well-intentioned message.

I'LL WALK WITH YOU

Drawing on lyrics from her Mormon children’s hymn of the same title, Pearson explores diversity and acceptance in a more secular context.

Addressing people of varying ages, races, origins, and abilities in forced rhymes that omit the original version’s references to Jesus, various speakers describe how they—unlike “some people”—will “show [their] love for” their fellow humans. “If you don’t talk as most people do / some people talk and laugh at you,” a child tells a tongue-tied classmate. “But I won’t! / I won’t! / I’ll talk with you / and giggle too. / That’s how I’ll show my love for you.” Unfortunately, many speakers’ actions feel vague and rather patronizing even as they aim to include and reassure. “I know you bring such interesting things,” a wheelchair user says, welcoming a family “born far, far away” who arrives at the airport; the adults wear Islamic clothing. As pink- and brown-skinned worshipers join a solitary brown-skinned person who somehow “[doesn’t] pray as some people pray” on a church pew, a smiling, pink-skinned worshiper’s declaration that “we’re all, I see, one family” raises echoes of the problematic assertion, “I don’t see color.” The speakers’ exclamations of “But I won’t!” after noting others’ prejudiced behavior reads more as self-congratulation than promise of inclusion. Sanders’ geometric, doll-like human figures are cheery but stiff, and the text’s bold, uppercase typeface switches jarringly to cursive for the refrain, “That’s how I’ll show my love for you.” Characters’ complexions include paper-white, yellow, pink, and brown.

An unfortunately simplistic delivery of a well-intentioned message. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4236-5395-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Gibbs Smith

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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