As he falls asleep, a small boy considers the various objects in his room and how they fit into his day. From the glowing night light to books on his shelf, the child compares how the now dusky objects will appear the next day and what he will do with them: “Next to my nightlight there is a window. At night it’s full of shadows, but tomorrow I will open the curtains and see what the day is like.” The tale concludes with his realization that the faster he falls asleep the quicker the night will be over. Ballard’s (When We Get Home. 1999, etc.) compassionate story addresses the very real anxiety young children often feel once the lights go out. By focusing on the prospect of the next day's activities, the young boy wards off any apprehensions about his dim room. Ballard’s use of color and subtle gradations in hues deftly conveys the waning light. Full-page illustrations depict a portion of the shadowy room while smaller inserts on the facing pages show the same part of the room bathed in sunlight. Cozy scenes depicting the minutiae of a child’s room—right down to the toys spilling out of the toy chest—add a homey, familiar touch. Gently reassuring, this sympathetic bedtime tale will help young readers keep their own nighttime fears at bay. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 31, 2000

ISBN: 0-688-16790-X

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Greenwillow

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2000

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Young Dexter Dugan is just days away from starting kindergarten and his stuffed dog, Rufus, is a teensy bit scared. Dexter’s sister, Jessie, having passed through the rigors of kindergarten, is now a third grader and patiently guides him through some of his fears. She helps Rufus, or perhaps Dexter, make a list of the things that worry him about school. A page per fear drifts off the desk and shows the reader, for example, “What if I get lost?” and “Are there mean people?” As it turns out, the teacher is sweet and the activities are absorbing. The lunchroom is like a restaurant and recess is so exciting that all fears are forgotten—until Rufus goes missing. Once again, Jessie lends a hand and by the final bell, Dexter and Rufus are sure that kindergarten does indeed rock. The illustrations, in brilliant shades of crayon-like texture, lend a beguilingly childlike look. Told from a kid’s perspective, this is bound to boost confidence at facing fears and is a terrific tool for those setting off on the elementary track. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: July 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-15-204932-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2005

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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 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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