Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Children's Book Review, Chill

Children's Book Review by Susan Stephenson,

I know I say this A LOT, but I have just discovered the most gorgeous children's picture book! It's Chill, written and illustrated by Carol Thompson, and published by Egmont (2010, re-issued in 2012.)

Life can sometimes seem a heavy burden...but there are ways of lightening the load. Dolly and Jack fall out over portraits they have painted of each other. They are so offended they can hardly breathe. But as they calm down, they discover it is not their collections or their bubble baths they love the best, but one another.

Author/illustrator Thompson has created a little gem in Chill. Some pages have traditional illustration and text while others have little vignettes, small cartoonish sketches with speech bubbles showing Dolly the pig and Jack the rabbit's thoughts or words. We see them get mad and say hurtful things. We see them get sad later and realise they miss each other. Thompson cleverly weaves coping strategies into the narrative, showing kids simple achievable ways to cope with feelings that make them want to explode.

There are so many things to savour in Chill. I love the way Thompson shows us the characters' feelings, ones we've all witnessed from the toddlers in our own lives. Kids will understand that even friends can get angry with each other, but there is always a way back when both are "chilled". Parents will appreciate that this book shows healthy ways to cope with feelings that get out of control. And I know teachers and librarians will value this classic children's picture book as a fun read-aloud with learning opportunities a-plenty!

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