The Worry Jar

The Worry Jar
Lou John and Jenny Bloomfield
Oxford Children’s Books

Frida is an inveterate worrier; she worries about big things and little things. She also collects pebbles and the weight of her worries feels as heavy as that of the pebbles; indeed she picks up one for every worry. It might be the weather, what she should wear to walk to school, has she packed everything in her school bag. When she arrives, she worries about where to sit in class and what to do at playtime. All these things leave her rather left out of things and weighed down with pebbles. Then at playtime she comes upon a shiny black pebble on the ground and puts it in her pocket. Still she worries though, about having tea with a friend and at bedtime, about a lost toy, Rabbit. Instead of her usual cuddly companion, she takes her new pebble to bed; it’s warm and smooth. Could it work as a substitute for Rabbit perhaps.

The worries continue all week; then on Sunday, Frida’s favourite day her beloved Granny comes to visit. Granny senses her anxiety and as the two make jam together, she tells Frida that everybody has worries, even herself, and worrying only makes things worse.

Perhaps Granny’s large empty jar might help as a collector of Frida’s worry pebbles? It’s definitely worth a try, so in go all the pebbles save her special black one. Several days pass: has Frida finally been able to put that black pebble in the jar with the others? What do you think?

Perceptive and empathetic: Lou John’s telling with Jenny Bloomfield’s carefully observed illustrations that are full of sensitivity and beautifully capture Frida’s emotions throughout, show young children that it is possible to manage those anxious feelings that beset us all from time to time.

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