Once I Was Very Very Scared
Chandra Ghosh Ippen, Author
Erich Ippen Jr., Illustrator
Piplo Productions, Fiction, Jan. 12, 2017
Suitable for Ages: 4-9
Themes: Animals, Stress, Trauma, Abuse, Scary Events, Hope
Opening: “Umm…Once I was very, very scared,” said Squirrel.
Synopsis: A little squirrel shares with his forest friends a very scary experience. He discovers that he is not alone. All his furry friends share their scary moments, but they each react in different ways. Turtle hides in his shell and gets a tummy ache, monkey is sad, dog growls and barks, rabbit wants to run and elephant doesn’t want to talk about it. What will these friends do to feel calm and safe?
Why I like this book:
Chandra Ghosh Ippen has written a timely book for children who have experienced stressful and traumatic events, natural disasters, violence, and abuse. It is the perfect book to share with children who have family members involved in the aftermath of recent hurricanes. With the help of a cast of furry animal friends, the book encourages children to talk about what happens to them when they are scared.
Once I Was Very Very Scared goes into details about the physical symptoms the animals experience when something scary happens — tummy aches, sadness, uncontrollable thoughts, hiding, running, and not wanting to talk about it. With the help of a wise Porcupine, the furry friends begin to talk about how they feel inside when they are scared — angry, sad, ashamed, frustrated and embarrassed. The friends begin to learn new things to help them during scary times — talking to a parent, snuggling with Mom, listening to music, and playing with friends.
This books speaks to a common emotion of kids that they don’t always get to talk about. Adults assume kids go on an forget an event like a fire, an accident, a tornado or a parental argument. They don’t.
Erich Ippen’s lively and expressive illustrations give life to the conversations between the animals. They are richly textured, humorous at times and will appeal to children.
Resource: This is book is a perfect resource for parents, teachers, school counselors and therapists to use with children individually or as a group, depending upon the circumstances. For more information about the impact of stressful and traumatic events on children and how grown-ups can help, please visit the National Children’s Traumatic Stress Network.
Other Links: The author has written Trinka and Sam and the Rainy Windy Day, a three-part free coloring book disaster series great for home or classroom use. It is available in English, Spanish and other languages.
Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.