An invaluable therapeutic resource aimed at kids.

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TAMING SNEAKY FEARS

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

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

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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THE LORAX

The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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