Fear is depicted in this book as a non-threatening, rotund, white creature. The protagonist (a young girl) has moved to a new country and has started a new school where the children and teachers don’t speak her first language. Before this big change, the girl and her fear co-existed quite harmoniously, where Fear was even considered as a protective friend. But now Fear is growing rapidly, occupying much more space (both physically and in her thoughts), until it starts to negatively influence her behaviour and perceptions of the outside world: it’s becoming hard for her to think about anything else other than how frightened she is. The girl becomes lonely and isolated, too overwhelmed and insecure to reach out and make friends. The turning point comes when a boy in her class extends the hand of friendship to her, and she begins to realise that she’s not the only one with fears and there’s no need to keep them secret.
Francesca Sanna has the knack of visualising emotions in a universally appealing manner, and her simple storytelling style blends so well with her images. This picture book should provide a warm blanket of comfort for many children who are struggling with fear, transition or loneliness.