Dec 9, 2012

Who's Afraid of Christmas?

If you had to think twice before answering that question, you haven't met SCAREDY SQUIRREL, by Melanie Watt. If you find yourself in that unfortunate circumstance, please move this titile to the top of your holiday wish list.

I've been able to make some progress on my holiday to-do list-- so far. Even though gift buying, decorating, and cookie baking have proceeded without major mishaps, I feel some familiar seasonal anxiety developing as the clock ticks and calendar pages turn.

Just in the nick of time, as he always is, Scaredy comes along with a new book to warn me and help me prepare for potential Christmas mishaps.
Kids Can Press, 2012

SCAREDY SQUIRREL PREPARES FOR CHRISTMAS: A Safety Guide for Scaredies is the definitive book for anyone who tends toward nervousness at holiday time. Scaredy carries out his precautionary directives in third person voice (I wonder if that is a germ-prevention measure?) and leaves no holly leaf unturned in his relentless pursuit of safety.

Before proceeding to the eight detailed and ditzy chapters, the reader confronts pages in which Scaredy introduces himself, warns about keeping the book away from germs and volcanoes, forbids its use by monsters, lobsters, vampire bats, or killer bees, offers an anxiety test, and even creates a surprisingly upbeat holiday horoscope.

This is a book that can and should be reread often, if only to assure that none of the minute details, throw-away lines, and subscripts are overlooked. Multiple readings are not a chore because Scaredy offers something for every demographic, a testament to the range and scope of his phobias and Watt's clever writing and illustration.

He wins me over with his proactive approach to fear, finding ways to explore a world that is as intriguing as it is scary. His no-nonsense advice is presented using informational text formats, making this a must-have title for anyone pursuing Common Core standards.

There's no end to Scaredy's helpful tips so be sure to check out his guides on other topics of concern:
Scaredy Squirrel Makes a FriendScaredy Squirrel at the BeachScaredy Squirrel at Night, and Scaredy Squirrel Has a Birthday Party.

In this special holiday book, his final "Scaredy Tip" offers perfect advice:
"Why not mix panic with pleasure?"
In his case, when playing dead in the snow a little creativity and a few slow but graceful moves stretched out over two hours will produce a lovely snow angel!

My final advice for a perfect holiday season?
If you find yourself running out of time to complete that to-do list, drop everything and read a picture book!
Care to share the status of your seasonal to-do list, or some titles?

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