Scaredy Book: It’s not always easy to be brave!
EK Books, 2018
32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
Book lived among many friends in the comfortable, warm, peaceful library and loved it. From where he perched he could see his friends skip out the door tucked under the arm or in the library bag of a delighted child as they went on great adventures and met new friends and then returned to tell the tale. Book would have liked to have had those sorts of adventures for himself but he was afraid – he thought of those books that came back damaged -creased, ripped, sticky or even with their pages missing – or never returned at all leaving a gap in the shelves where they had once stood proudly.
Will he ever overcome his fear and let himself go on an adventure? What happens when he meets Emma whose favourite place is the library?
This is a delightful, original story that sensitively explores the fear of the unknown and the courage involved in stepping outside our comfort zones to experience those things we would really like to if we weren’t so timid. Book, Emma and all of us have an imagination that can sometimes cripple us from taking action because of the ‘what-ifs’ and we can make the negatives so huge they outweigh the positives. But it also a book that can inspire moving forward – by turning the ‘what-if’ into something we can develop a strategy for in advance if, indeed it does happen. It can also inspire empathy by helping the worried child consider the concerns of those they are going to meet – perhaps they are just as scared.
Quite different from her debut book The Leaky Story, nevertheless this is another great example of the “what-if’ story starter that triggers speculative fiction that has been the focus of Sillett’s academic research. The illustrations are in a gentle palette with soft lines that emphasise the tone of the story and reinforce the atmosphere of calm and peace and tranquility that prevail.
Either as a class or a personal read, this is a wonderful way to have children begin to talk about the things that concern them and help them navigate their way through them so they, like Book, can discover a whole new world of adventures.