An invaluable therapeutic resource aimed at kids.

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

MAYBE

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 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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