Perfect Picture Book Friday-Don’t Panic Annika

I am jumping up and down with excitement…Boing! Boing!…for Perfect Picture Book Friday. Today, I am reviewing a book by…drumroll…

The One! The Only! Juliet Clare Bell! (You could call that an overuse of exclamation points…but in this case…you’d be so wrong). Clare just happens to be in my critique group and she is awesome. She is not the only awesome member of my critique group. There are six others filled with awesomeness. In case you’re not in the mood for math, that would be eight in our group, which has turned out to be a really good number.

OK…OK…on to the review.

Don’t Panic, Annika!

Written by Juliet Clare Bell and Illustrated by Jennifer E. Morris

Picadilly 2011 (and others-see Notes below)

Ages 4-7

Themes: Childhood Experiences (remaining calm), Emotions, Determination, Problem Solving, Family

OpeningAnnika was a panicker. She always PANICKED . . .When she dropped Moose in the pond . . . she PANICKED. “He’s fallen in! I can’t get him!” she shouted. “Try fishing him out with your net,” said Dad. “I CAN’T! shouted Annika.

Brief Synopsis: (From Amazon-UK) Annika is a panicker! She panics when her coat zip gets stuck on the way to a party. She panics when she can’t find her favourite toy at bedtime. Mum, Dad and her brother try to show her how to stay calm in a crisis. But when she gets locked in the house, with the only keys out of reach, it’s Annika who manages to solve the problem by herself.

Resources: I would consider this book a resource for parent’s and teachers who are wanting to teach a child skills for remaining calm. Clare is in the process of creating resources as we speak. They will be available for download from her website March 1, 2012. Also, Clare’s daughter, who shares the name of the main character, reads the book aloud on this YouTube video. She does an excellent job and is just precious in an Annika costume. Clare says that even though Annika shares the name of the main character, she doesn’t share the personality. As you can see she is not a panicker.

Why I Like This Book: Clare’s repetitive, rhythmic text  make this a book that children will want to hear/read again and again. Her characterization is spot on.  The book teaches some very useful skills that children can use for calming themselves in situations where they might be prone to panic. Even though there is a lesson to be learned, the book is a load of fun and not preachy in the least. Jennifer E. Morris’s illustrations will capture children from the beginning. When Annika drops her favorite toy, Moose, in the pond, you will want to jump in and rescue him yourself, because Jennifer has made him completely adorable.

Notes: Besides being published in English in the UK (Piccadilly Press) and Australia (Koala Books), Don’t Panic Annika!  and is published in Dutch in the Netherlands (Geen Paniek, Anniek! with de Vries Brouwers). It’s also coming out in Taiwan, in Chinese and English as a dual language edition (Chang Tan Int Publishing, 2012), and in Slovenian, too (Skrivnost).

Extras: Clare has another book coming out in early autumn with Barefoot Books. The title is The Kite Princess and will be illustrated by Laura-Kate Chapman. The main character is a princess named Cinnamon Stitch.  It will come with an audio CD read by Oscar nominated  Imelda Staunton 🙂 Oh…and I just learned that Pirate Picnic will be out in May, 2012, and is published by Franklin Watts. The Kite Princess and Pirate Picnic are alluring titles that I can’t wait to read. She has more details here on her website.

More Extras: Click here for an interview about how Clare became an author. And, for you writers, here is a blog post about her perfect picture book structure.

Susanna Leonard Hill features Perfect Picture Book Friday on her blog. This is a wonderful resource if you are wondering what books to give as gifts, needing material for a lesson, and mainly just perfect for those who love to read picture books. Here is a list of books by category. This is very handy for finding books for lessons in the classroom, or for finding books on a particular topic to discuss with your children at home. Each book listed has a link to a review and information about that book. There is also an alphabetical list.

44 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday-Don’t Panic Annika

  1. Love, Love, Love the message of this book, Penny! Thank you so much for giving us a look at it…great review! I’ll have to add this to my library list.
    Now, how many books will the library let me take out??????

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  2. A great review of a great book! My six year old and I both love ‘Don’t Panic, Annika’–so much so that we both have our own copies. Thanks, Penny, for sharing! And thanks for calling us awesome. It takes one to know one!

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    • Thanks, Stacy. I went to the library yesterday to check out any books I could find from the PPBF reviews. I found Sheep in a Jeep 🙂 So delightful that it deserves extra exclamation points, also!!!!!!!!!

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  3. Thank you so much, Penny, for the review. I feel honoured to be included in your Perfect Picture Book Fridays. I’m away off for the weekend but I’ll reply properly when I get back -thank you all so much for your lovely comments.

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  4. I have a niece named Anneke spelled with an “e” in both those places. Her Dutch father, my brother, named her. I like the title of the book naming the problem and the main character.

    And like the above comment says, Julie has a book on meditation for little ones. Maybe that could be a resource for your friend. Or one of those resource pages could be used for info. 🙂

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  5. My 4-year old daughter could have chosen any picture book for Share Day at preschool a few weeks back. She chose DON’T PANIC, ANNIKA! That endorsement speaks for itself!

    Thank you, Penny, for your accurate review of Juliet Clare Bell’s book. And for being one of my amazing, beloved critique partners.

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  6. Oh oh lucky me….I’m one of the lucky 8!!!
    I wanted to post the video of Annika reading but wasn’t sure I should…thanks for doing that Penny and Clare.

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  7. Penny, I’m so glad you shared this book. Such a great topic for young kids. Annika did such a beautiful job of reading the book — loved the video. I could see the beautiful illustrations. The fact that Clair is in your critique group makes this a very special sharing.

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  8. This sounds like a great book, Penny! Thanks for sharing one of our 12X12ers work! Aside from Wemberly Worried, which isn’t really the same thing, I don’t know a lot of books that address this issue, which make it very valuable IMHO because there are lots of kids who worry and panic. I love that this book shows them a) they’re not alone and b) how they might manage better. And I have to say, those other titles sound great, and I loe the name Cinnamon Stitch!!!

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    • I love that name, too. She comes up with really clever names in her manuscripts which make them even more fun to critique. She is very talented.
      When I ordered the book, it was only available from the UK Amazon. It didn’t take nearly as long to arrive as they said it would …but it took long enough. You should’ve seen me when I opened it and quickly sat in my favorite chair to read it. I had the biggest smile! It remained all the way through the first reading and got even bigger with the second reading. Of course, I have read it many times since. It was the coolest feeling to read a book written by a critique buddy.

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  9. I can’t wait to get my hands on this book. Congrats Juliet!!! This review was awesome Penny. I loved all the links and did some book marking. I watched the video of Annika reading, omg she did an excellent job and is just adorable.

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  10. Love your excitement in this post. The sounds like a fun read and so perfect for young kids. Will add it to my list. Also thanks for the extra links on Clare, especially the plot structure post.

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  11. Your enthusiasm is contagious! I’m glad to have stumbled upon your blog and enjoy your posts…I hope to see more books out there that speak to themes of anxiety/panic, etc…those are very real issues for children and adults alike. This looks like a book I’ll be recommending to my educator friends.

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  12. It looks ADORABLE! And considering that we do like a lot of the same types of books, I will definitely put it at the top of my list. I was sold at the title and cover illustration. Too cute! 🙂

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  13. Thank you for introducing us to Clare and the Annika. This is going to speak right into the heart of some kids! So glad it is being published in several languages. What fun to be able to introduce us to one of your ctir partners.

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  14. Oh how lovely that the author is in your critique group 🙂 And what a lovely complement to Pete the Cat – now we have don’t panic and don’t sweat the small stuff. Cool!

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  15. This book sounds adorable. The text sounds musical. Must buy it. (I’m a panicker too) What a wonderful post. We had another calming picture book that I saw today. Over at Julie’s place. Great choice! 🙂

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