My oldest boy embraced new experiences but my second son resisted change at every turn – going to kindergarten was scary, going to school was scarier (more kids, longer days). I guess a new environment can be scary. If you’ve got anyone in your household with first-day nerves, read on.
Snap!, by the always-wonderful Janet A. Holmes, is a sensitive story about facing fears. We meet a little boy who is preparing for his ‘first day’ –
“It was the big day. I got up and hid under the bed.”
The little boy reluctantly gets dressed, not forgetting to put his crocodile mask on. After that, he snaps at everyone, thinking that it was easier to snap and frighten people away than to join in.
But what the little boy doesn’t expect is another monster… who is in fact quite nice. And interesting. And good at drawing. Could it be that the little boy – I mean crocodile – has found a friend?
The beauty of this book is that it can be applied to all sorts of situations – Holmes’ clever use of (friendly) monsters and the illusion of a forest lets readers imagine any environment they want. There can be great advantage in not addressing things in an obvious way (which I discovered when my second son spied the ‘First Day at School’ book I bought for him and promptly announced “I’m not reading that!”). Instead, the focus of the story is firmly on being brave and facing fears with a smile rather than a scowl.
Notable are Daniella Germain’s superb paper collage illustrations – the characters appear to be made from jointed paper dolls, placed against delicate water colour backdrops – a real treat.
Snap! is suitable for children aged three years and over. Find it online at Books Direct.