Friday, 13 March 2015

ReadItDaddy's Book of the Week - Week Ending 13th March 2015 - "The Underwater Fancy Dress Parade" by Davina Bell and Allison Colpoys (Scribe Publishing)

The Underwater Fancy-Dress Parade

Written by Davina Bell

Illustrated by Allison Colpoys

Published by Scribe Publishing

As we've said many times, books sometimes arrive for review that are so well timed and so relevant to what's going on in Charlotte's life, that we almost believe book fairies exist and they're watching our every move. Conquering shyness is a subject that many children's books approach in a variety of different ways but seldom have we seen a book that so brilliantly describes that actual feeling you get in your stomach, that sort of odd glowy uncomfortable feeling that ties you up in knots, makes you anxious and stops you from doing the things you want to do.

I'm painfully shy, and I fear that a little of that has rubbed off on Charlotte as she's very shy too. Charlotte's shyness extends to anxiety issues at school drop-off time, or if we go to any events - even at play clubs during school holidays and it's quite horrible to see her made so miserable by her shyness and introversion.

In "The Underwater Fancy Dress Parade" a young boy goes through exactly the same feelings Charlotte does before an event, be it a children's birthday party or a school play - or the underwater fancy dress parade.

The boy's parents treat him with understanding, never anger (although in the story the boy expects an angry response, his mum is patient and kind). As the Underwater Fancy Dress Parade edges ever closer, the boy starts off upbeat about it, planning his costume and psyching himself up for the event. Alas, when it comes to the night before, the boy can't sleep and eventually ducks out of the parade as his mum drives him to school.

She has an idea - instead of the parade she takes him to an aquarium where they spy a clownfish. At first the fish seems interested in the boy, but soon ducks back into the anemones to hide, just as the boy hides away from the world. The boy recognises the fish's behaviour in himself, and vows to try harder for next year's parade.

We sat down and read this book through many times, particularly at the moment where Charlotte once again has attachment issues and won't let us drop her off at school with a smile and a bounce in her step. The book has helped a lot, and we'd recommend it to any parents who are seeing similar things happen with their own children.

Charlotte's best bit: Charlotte recognised the boy's anxiety issues as being very like her own and loved the bit at the aquarium

Daddy's Favourite bit: A very sensitive subject dealt with quite wonderfully here by Davina and Allison.

(Kindly sent to us for review by Scribe Publishing)