A new picture book addresses anxiety with mindfulness.
Bea loves to dance, sing, and explore the outdoors. But Bea is also prone to anxious thoughts, which are brought to life in the watercolor-and-ink illustrations as long fronds of a malevolent willow tree that leave poor Bea in tangles. She’s planned a big party, but on the day of the event Bea can think only of everything that might go wrong. Her repeated attempts to control the cascade of worried thoughts are thwarted each time a guest arrives: “DING DONG!” Seeking relief, she escapes into the yard, where she is finally able to slow down and find space to breathe. When Bea discovers the party balloons are not blown up, readers might think this will confirm her fears of failure, but instead, the rhythmic breathing required to blow up the balloons further aids her calming and allows her to enjoy the party with her friends. Unfortunately, the inconsistent rhyme scheme and sometimes-confusing use of speech and thought bubbles distracts from the story and muddles the message. While the backmatter content from pediatric psychologist Ara Schmitt is informative for parents, other, better resources exist for sharing mindful breathing techniques with children as well as for providing literary mirrors to children struggling with anxiety. Bea and most of the other characters present white.
A disappointing outing for the psychology specialists. (Picture book. 4-7)