Don’t Think about Purple Elephants
EK Books, 2015
hbk., 32pp., RRP $A24.99
Sophie is just like lots of other girls her age. She goes to school and learns lots of interesting things and plays with her friends; she enjoys doing home things on the weekend and riding her bike and looking at the clouds – but when night time comes she starts to worry. Each night she gets the what-ifs and lies awake worrying about them. What if there is no milk so she can’t have cereal for breakfast? What if her favourite shirt was still in the wash and she couldn’t wear it on the weekend? Her worrying made it so hard for her to relax and go to sleep that she was often so tired in the mornings she couldn’t do the things she loved to do. And no matter how her family tried to help her, it didn’t work until…
While its subject matter is serious, this is a whimsical approach that acknowledges that many children suffer from anxiety as Sophie does, often at night when the lights are out and no one notices without diminishing the worry or trivialising the concerns. This is a clever, well-written book that brings the problem out into the light and helps children understand that they aren’t on their own. It provides a wonderful opportunity to open up a conversation and the imaginative solution for Sophia’s concerns will delight everyone. You wonder what a teacher would do if a student wrote, “I wish my teacher knew I think about purple elephants at night.”
The colourful illustrations are full of fun and fancy and capture the carefree life of a child and then dramatically change to monochrome as night creeps in, offering the chance to explore how colour can depict mood and how we, as readers, can often predict the tone of a story from the palette used.
This is another title from this independent publisher that is not afraid to tell stories that many children resonate with and seek solace from. Teachers notes and a sneak peek are available.