Make sure you wash your hands before reading Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt. Because Scaredy Squirrel is afraid of germs. In fact, Scaredy Squirrel is afraid of just about everything. This is why he never leaves his tree. This has advantages (less chance of being attacked by martians/sharks/tarantulas/etc) and disadvantages (it’s kind of boring). He spends his days just eating and admiring the view, until one day he sees a bee! In his haste to flee, Scaredy Squirrel abandons his emergency kit, with its top secret exit plan, and jumps into the unknown, discovering he’s actually a flying squirrel, and that the unknown isn’t as terrifying as he thought.
My Many Colored Days is a Dr. Seuss book you may not be familiar with. It was published posthumously by his widow Audrey Geisel. He had written it, inspired by the view from his study, and envisioned it to be illustrated by an artist with a completely different style from his own. That mantle was taken up by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher, who created beautiful paintings for the book. “You’d be surprised how many ways I change on different colored days,” Seuss writes, articulating how colors can affect, or be used to explain, our emotions, and how our moods may fluctuate throughout the week. My favorite pages are for feeling brown, and sort of “low down,” immediately followed by bright shades of yellow and feeling like a “busy buzzy bee!”
It’s a case of mistaken identity in the forest with Where’s My Teddy by Jez Alborough. A little boy, Eddie, is searching for his lost teddy bear, Freddie, in the woods. The trees are dark and scary, and Eddie really just wants to curl up in bed with his favorite toy. But what does he find? An enormous teddy bear! “How did you get to be this size?” he wonders, until he hears a voice crying outside the clearing. Suddenly, a giant bear is stomping toward him, carrying Freddie, and bewailing his smallness. “My ted!” rejoices the bear, and then “A boy!” he screams in fright! The two exchange teddies and dash is opposite directions. The story ends happily with both Eddie and the bear in their own snuggly beds, with their own cuddly teds.
Twelve Terrible Things by Marty Kelley begins with a warning: “If you turn the page you’re going to see some terrible things. Some really terrible things. This book is full of them. Didn’t you read the title?” Well, he’s right. What follows are some of the most awful things a kid could think of, including monsters under the bed, trips to the dentist, scary clowns, dead goldfish, and a lunch lady demanding “What do you mean you don’t like gravy? Everybody likes gravy.” This book will remind parents of what it was like being a kid, when one of worst things you could think of was getting your cheeks squeezed by your grandma, and it can lead to fun discussions with your child about other truly terrible things!
Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears by Emily Gravett is a clever book set up as a small rodent’s journal of all the things she’s afraid of (which is almost everything). “I’m alarmed by loud noises!” Little Mouse writes. Gravett elaborates that this is called Ligyrophobia. Owls make Little Mouse twitch. According to the author she might have Ornithophobia (fear of birds) or Phagophobia (fear of being eaten). The book also features flaps and other interactive features, like Little Mouse’s hand-drawn map of the “Isle of Fright” complete with directions: take the first right. No! Left. No! Right. I think… If you’re at the forest, TURN AROUND! GO BACK! RUN! This is too much for me. Please ask someone else for directions. Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears is a very cute book. Skittish children will probably relate!
My Friend is Sad is an Elephant & Piggie book by Mo Willems (of The Pigeon and Knuffle Bunny fame). It stars elephant Gerald and his best friend Piggie. Gerald looks sad, so Piggie decides to cheer him up. She disguises herself as a cowboy (Gerald loves cowboys), but he is still sad. She dresses up like a clown (a funny, funny clown), but that doesn’t work either! Piggie enters in full robot costume (a cool, cool robot mind you), but Gerald seems even more depressed than he was originally. Finally Piggie tries to reason with Gerald, but as soon as he catches sight of her he is instantly happy! He gives her a big hug and tells her all the amazing things he just saw. How could one be sad around a cowboy, clown, or robot, Piggie wonders, but Gerald lets her know all those great things mean nothing without a best friend to share them with!