The latest from Parr, executed in his characteristic style that sets extremely bright colors off with a heavy black line, addresses common childhood fears.
The left side of the spread states a phobia: “Sometimes I’m scared of the dark.” The facing page offers a way to make the situation better: “I’m not scared if I have a night-light.” Worries run the gamut, from getting on an airplane, Halloween ghosts and monsters, something hiding under the bed, getting lost, families arguing, starting school and making a mistake. The message, although obviously well intentioned, verges on syrupy self-help for preschoolers. This will make for convenient bibliotherapy for young kids trying to overcome their fears, but offering just one coping strategy per dreadful situation is unlikely to give much comfort. The final page, in multi-colored text, may be the one worth remembering: “Sometimes we are scared of things because we don’t understand them. When you are afraid, tell someone why and maybe you won’t be scared anymore.”
Whether this is just a platitude or words of wisdom is up to readers to decide. (Picture book. 3-6)