Review: The Not-So-Scary Dog

The Not-So-Scary Dog
Author: Alanna Propst
Illustrator: Michelle Simpson
Magination Press
Ages: 4-8 years old

For a child who has an anxiety disorder everyday occurrences, even a simple invitation to a birthday party, can trigger a panic attack. Although sometimes easily dismissed as “phases” by the well meaning (and uneducated), anxiety in the four to eight-year-old cohort is very real and can be debilitating. The Not-So-Scary Dog tells us the story of Tommy, a young boy who received an invitation to a birthday party where there would be a dog “eight feet tall” present, that would make him anxious. Tommy, did not want to go to the party when faced with his reality.

His Mom (apparently an individual trained in exposure therapy) takes the balance of the book to help Tommy overcome his fear, and his anxiety, thereby helping him attend the party. The book, typical of those published by Magination Press, contains a wonderful note at the end that delves into anxiety and exposure therapy, also providing adults with tips on how to read the book with children.

Written in verse (a welcome relief from the constant narrative prose of current picture books) the book has many charms. The rhymes are, for the most part, tight and advance the story well. Kids like rhyming books. We need to see more of them. I do suggest reading the book to yourself a few times before reading it with your child to get the rhythm down. It is not always perfect and requires a liberal, musical ear.

Although the vocabulary is at times over the target age range, it is suitable for discussion. The book requires engaging with the child; but, that is the point! In methodically taking Tommy through the stages of exposure therapy, it does run a bit long; and, an animated over-exagerated reading will help get through the slow parts.

If you have a child that has anxiety, this book is certainly an arrow you’d like in your quiver. Libraries would also benefit from having this book onboard as a useful reference.

The Not-So-Scary Dog (Support an Independent Bookseller)
The Not-So-Scary Dog (Amazon)*

More books for this Age Group can be found here.

My thanks to Magination Press for providing a Review Copy of this book. All opinions provided herein are my own.

Please, leave comments! I love a HEALTHY exchange of ideas. After all, critical thinking is essential to life.

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