At a time when so many children are affected by anxiety, this is a much-needed picture book. It covers twelve different things children typically might feel anxious about (being told off, a new teacher, seeing something horrible on TV, finding something difficult, friendship issues, being picked on, arguing parents, fears and phobias, jealousy, being ignored, loneliness and being ill.) These could quite easily be applied to different anxieties (eg, seeing something unpleasant on TV could equally be applied to the internet or on the radio). Each scenario has a double page spread – the left side typically acknowledges the child’s feelings and provides words for their emotions: a great way to start off a conversation and to help the child verbalise how they feel. The right hand page provides ‘things to remember’ in the form of gentle guidance and suggestions to improve the situation, facts to help put the anxiety in perspective, and important safety information (eg, you need to tell an adult you trust if you are being bullied).
As effective as this all sounds to an adult, I’m keen to emphasise that this is not a dry and boring book. It has been cleverly written with simple language that a child will understand and enjoy (there’s a really good ‘feelings glossary’ for children at the back of the book if further clarification is required). The illustrations are very appealing, our child testers loved the cartoon-style scenes with speech bubbles. The entire book appears to have been produced with real love, care and expertise: the messages are well considered and the tone is just right for young children.