An adequate storyline combines with colorful cartoon characters in a tidy five-step program for anxious pre-adolescents.

Scaredies Away! A Kid's Guide to Overcoming Worry and Anxiety (made simple)

This illustrated kids’ book will help young ones handle their panic.

Young Jack wishes he were brave enough to experience all life has to offer, especially now that the extended family has gathered at the beach for summer fun. While he waits in line to ride the giant roller coaster Big Red, panic overtakes him. Then, cool surfer cousin Clay admits that he, too, used to have multiple fears, until an “old surf pro” taught him the “Magic Finger Countdown.” Acknowledging that “everyone—even surf pros and cousins and your parents—get (sic) scared sometimes” and that “it’s totally OK not to feel OK sometimes,” Clay teaches Jack the MFC and assures him it can be applied to scary rides, killer waves and more. MFC fails to provide relief for Jack the first time around, but Clay assures him that practice makes perfect, and the next day, Jack returns to Big Red to banish his “scaredies.” Fiorile (a school psychologist) and McDonagh (who has a diploma in psychology) note in the foreword: “We have been conditioned to reassure children that their fears are not real…[b]ut those fears are very real to children.” If youngsters are taught to “develop a healthy internal strength,” their confidence will increase and they’ll be reassured “that they can handle each new, anxious situation they encounter”; from there, the authors say, “anxiety can be transformed into a sense of personal power.” The MFC technique, “rooted in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy,” is explained in greater detail after the story (mostly for adults), and suggestions are offered to adapt the five steps for specific situations. Though no substitute for professional support and therapy, the book considers the familiar, dread-inspiring topics—taking tests, monsters in the closet, shadows on the wall, etc.—with an upbeat, reassuring tone. The simple steps for identifying, acknowledging and releasing fear offer a useful method for helping younger children move past panic into a place of confidence. Throughout, Alonso’s high-quality, vibrant illustrations provide an appealing mix of wide-eyed energy and bobble-headed attitude.

An adequate storyline combines with colorful cartoon characters in a tidy five-step program for anxious pre-adolescents.

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1496020406

Page Count: 40

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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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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