TAMING SNEAKY FEARS

LEO THE LION'S STORY OF BRAVERY & INSIDE LEO'S DEN: THE WORKBOOK

An invaluable therapeutic resource aimed at kids.

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A debut guide for children with anxiety problems provides an animal tale and an interactive workbook.

This manual by two child psychiatrists—based on their therapeutic treatment program—has a straightforward design: eight chapters of “Leo the Lion’s Story of Bravery” and eight corresponding workbook sections. Leo is nervous about speaking to other animals because he fears that they will make fun of him. With the help of his mother, he uses stress-reducing techniques such as Spaghetti Arms and Toes (progressive muscle relaxation), Balloon Breathing (abdominal breathing), and Imagery. Then, in Bravery Club, he learns about his “Sneaky Fears,” portrayed as two snarling, smelly jackals. His teacher explains: “Your worst fears, these wild and scary beasts, need to be tamed.” In time, Leo exposes their tactics—telling falsehoods, exaggerating, and showing only bad things—and begins to think courageous thoughts instead. Soon he discovers that he can also employ a “Feeling Thermometer” to recognize and reduce negative emotions. In the final chapters, Leo and his new friend, Ellie the Elephant, practice what they’ve learned in order to overcome their fears. The workbook precisely matches the clever story and includes application activities like practicing stress-reducing methods, drawing “Sneaky Fears,” and deciding what steps to accomplish on the “Bravery Ladder.” There are also several invitations to draw “body scans” of how readers feel when experiencing different emotions. Benoit and Monga have done an excellent job of presenting evidence-based, anxiety-reducing techniques in a way that is both creative and comprehensible. They utilize simple language, adequate repetition, and memorable metaphors, making the guide’s message crystal clear to young children. The vivid and expressive digital drawings by Reyes (Story Bird Dance and the Snowbird Ballet, 2016, etc.) also aid the audience because they deftly illustrate the tale’s plot and emotions. The principles in these pages are universal for anyone battling anxiety, and the workbook allows readers to personalize the story and become “the boss” of their bodies and brains. Parents of children plagued by anxiety should be especially grateful for this volume because of the understanding, tools, and hope that it offers.

An invaluable therapeutic resource aimed at kids.

Pub Date: June 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5255-1882-9

Page Count: 96

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

CINDERELLA

From the Once Upon a World series

A nice but not requisite purchase.

A retelling of the classic fairy tale in board-book format and with a Mexican setting.

Though simplified for a younger audience, the text still relates the well-known tale: mean-spirited stepmother, spoiled stepsisters, overworked Cinderella, fairy godmother, glass slipper, charming prince, and, of course, happily-ever-after. What gives this book its flavor is the artwork. Within its Mexican setting, the characters are olive-skinned and dark-haired. Cultural references abound, as when a messenger comes carrying a banner announcing a “FIESTA” in beautiful papel picado. Cinderella is the picture of beauty, with her hair up in ribbons and flowers and her typically Mexican many-layered white dress. The companion volume, Snow White, set in Japan and illustrated by Misa Saburi, follows the same format. The simplified text tells the story of the beautiful princess sent to the forest by her wicked stepmother to be “done away with,” the dwarves that take her in, and, eventually, the happily-ever-after ending. Here too, what gives the book its flavor is the artwork. The characters wear traditional clothing, and the dwarves’ house has the requisite shoji screens, tatami mats and cherry blossoms in the garden. The puzzling question is, why the board-book presentation? Though the text is simplified, it’s still beyond the board-book audience, and the illustrations deserve full-size books.

A nice but not requisite purchase. (Board book/fairy tale. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7915-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

MAYBE

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves

A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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