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.
Written by Juliet Clare Bell and Illustrated by Jennifer E. Morris
Picadilly 2011 (and others-see Notes below)
Themes: Childhood Experiences (remaining calm), Emotions, Determination, Problem Solving, Family
Opening: Annika 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.
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.