Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Amy and the Feelings Basket - The Magic Basket / Starting School by Debbie K and Louise Grundy (Ashbridge Publishing)

Amy and the Feelings Basket
The Magic Basket / Starting School

Written by Debbie K

Illustrated by Louise Grundy

Published by Ashbridge Publishing

We've been reading and enjoying a unique range of books over the last week, books designed to help children cope with new situations and the feelings they encounter in an original and fun way.

"The Feelings Basket" is an idea devised by Debbie K, and a series of books by Debbie with illustrations by Louise Grundy. The theme is to help children explore feelings by making those feelings tangible in the stories, characters in their own right that can help children with confidence issues or anxieties.

Amy is given a very special gift, a magic basket which unfolds and contains characters based on her feelings. There's confusion - who is all in a muddle, there's calm who can help Amy with soothing and sensible advice, there's confidence who stands up straight like a soldier and can stride around the room, boosting Amy's confidence.

"The Magic Basket" introduces us to the themes and characters while "Starting School" deals with an anxiety issue that most children will go through at some point during their lives, those stomach-churning first few days either starting school or going to a new school.

The illustrations are great, and though the stories are quite long and wordy (which could cause a bit of fidgeting for younger children) they're great when you read them over the space of a few bedtimes.

It's an admirable idea and very nicely executed, with plenty of scope to expand the theme into more books dealing with other issues (in fact there's another title waiting in the wings that talks about sibling love and rivalry, so we can't wait to find out more about that one). The great thing about exploring feelings through these books is that the stories lead to more discussion with your child, and plenty of scope for activities or ideas explored in the book to expand into different ways of helping your child broach difficult subjects themselves.

We'd definitely like to see more books, perhaps with a 'boy' character with their own feelings basket, though there's no reason why these couldn't appeal to both boys and girls.

If you'd like to learn a little more about the range (with some great fun activities for children as well as learning resources for teachers and parents), drop by the Feelings Basket Website:

Here's a YouTube clip featuring Debbie herself, explaining a little more about the books.

Charlotte's best bit: Calm who is an ocean of serenity, something I think we could all do with in our own feelings baskets!

Daddy's Favourite bit: A very original idea, and a fantastic way to help children explore their feelings or deal with difficult subjects in an engaging and stimulating way

(Kindly sent to us for review by Ashbridge Publishing)