Gloria’s capital-P Problem hounds her with worries and makes her feel small.
Gloria Marvel loves to sing, and, in the privacy of her home, she’s expressive and exuberant. But her Problem’s bellow drowns her out if she tries to sing in public. Deas depicts Gloria’s ever present Problem as a large, hairy, green-striped, troll-like monster with polka-dot shorts. No one else can see Gloria’s Problem, and when she tries to talk about it, people either dismiss or ridicule her. She really wants to audition for a play at the community theater, but her Problem howls in her ear so she can’t think. It makes Gloria so mad that she finally yells at it to “STOP!” The Problem immediately shrinks, and, though it’s still present, she auditions with confidence. Brown-skinned Gloria goes to church and lives in a multiethnic neighborhood. Pages are text heavy, but the illustrations, in watercolor shades and heavy, inked lines, encapsulate the scene essentials. The book accurately depicts the way that anxiety often makes some outlandish what-ifs seem very probable and small things seem just as devastating. It also makes the case for Gloria’s family and friends to treat her needs seriously, and it emphasizes that although she sometimes feels “bonkers,” she definitely isn’t. In the collection of books that conceptualize mental conditions, this one respects the afflicted protagonist and politely insists that others should as well.
Sensitive and emotionally realistic. (Picture book. 6-9)