I wasn’t sure what to title this post, but all three of these books deal with tricky emotions and situations, whether that’s arguing, fear, or indecision, so I think they make a nice group! All of these books were sent to me free of charge for review, but my opinions are all my own.
Charlie Chooses by Lou Peacock and Nicola Slater, from Nosy Crow
A little bit of worrying is normal, but Charlie worries so much about every decision that he can never choose anything! When he has to choose the perfect present for his birthday, he eventually settles on a dog, but that opens up way more decisions when he sees all the different dogs at the rescue centre! I liked the cute illustration style of this book, and I think making decisions is an important topic to discuss, but I would have liked to see Charlie have a little more growth in the book – a dog chooses him, then helps him to choose things in the future, but it doesn’t come across that Charlie has actually learned the skill of making a decision. It’s still a fun story, don’t get me wrong, but if you’re looking for a book to teach that particular skill, this might not be quite what you’re after. It’s super cute, though!
Meet the Grumblies by John Kelly and Carmen Saldaña, from Little Tiger
This book has a simple theme – things are nicer when you work together rather than argue – and it’s executed brilliantly. The Grumblies never stop arguing, except when their home is invaded by a Gobblestomp determined to eat all their food and drink all their juice! They have to come up with a plan, which will require them to put their arguments aside… The Grumblies are engaging characters, as their caveman appearance allows the reader to see them as aggressive and uncivilised with minimal other character information, but they’re still cute and expressive. I love the purple Gobblestomp, which bursts onto every page it’s on in such an exciting, bright way, and has such a sweet face – and I really liked that even though it’s the antagonist, it’s also included in the ‘working together’ theme of the story! A fun read with a good message.
Afraid of the Dark by Sarah Shaffi, Isabel Otter, and Lucy Farfort, from LIttle Tiger
Amy’s first night in her new home is scary – so many new noises and shadows, and it just doesn’t feel like home. She, her dad, and their dog Pickle try all sorts of things to help her stop being scared of the dark, and with their help, and some new friends, she finally begins to get comfortable. This is so sweet, and would be a lovely read for a child who wants to get over their fear of the dark. There’s a lovely contrast between the daytime and nighttime scenes, and I’m impressed with how the dark scenes in particular move from scary (only lightly!) to cosy as the book progresses. I also really loved the illustration of the library, which looks seriously magical! It’s great to have a book that models such a gentle solution to a fear – no need for any grand actions of bravery, just love and comfort to help you get through it.