The story follows Brody the lion cub and his mother on a trip to the grocery store. Although not specifically stated in the story, Brody displays traits that are common in children on the autistic spectrum (he finds changes in routine challenging, displays some sensory processing issues, and quickly gets overwhelmed by strong emotions).
Written by Dr Kristin Wegner, a highly experienced Clinical Psychologist, the story explores how Brody and his parents and other caregivers help him to prepare and rehearse strategies for coping with some of the challenging scenarios he may face during his shopping trip. Brody’s day has some ups and downs: he has a meltdown outside the store when things don’t go the way he had planned, but later on, when there’s another ‘bump in the road’, he’s able to calm himself by breathing and remembering what he has practiced in advance. Brody’s mother stays calm and supportive throughout, acknowledging his feelings rather than dismissing or judging them.
There are comprehensive notes provided at the back of the book aimed at caregivers (written by Kimberly Sattler MS/BCBA) which are far from just an afterthought – much of the advice given has been explored with examples in the story itself – making the book a useful resource for adults as well as children. There’s even some advice for onlookers, reminding grown ups to see the best in any situation and not fall down the pitfall of judgement.
Young children are likely enjoy the simplicity of the words and the bold, bright illustrations. Brody is an endearing character who should chime with any child who feels compelled to ROAR from time to time! The story provides a useful metaphor and ‘shortcut’ to explore helpful strategies with children: (‘What would Brody do?’, ‘Blow a Brody blow’, etc) and it is good springboard for further conversation and exploration. Kristen Wegner has created a well-researched story with characters that are both likeable and realistic; Brody doesn’t always manage to fully control his meltdowns but always tries his best and wants to do the right thing.