An Unexpected Thing / Hello Autumn

An Unexpected Thing
Ashling Lindsay
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

Little Fred is a fearful child. Unlike most of us who feel frightened from time to time, Fred is fearful almost always, so he spends his days and nights in fear of such things as unexpected loud noises and shadowy shapes
Surprisingly one day a spot appears and unsurprisingly Fred hides himself away, too afraid to look directly at it. Coco also sees the same spot when standing close by in the garden, but her reaction is quite different for what she sees is totally different.

She decides that she can help Fred by trying to get him to see things from her viewpoint. For instance if Fred sees a moon blasted from its orbit whereas Coco sees it as a wind born bubble bobbing along: Fred sees a catastrophic comet, Coco a balloon bearing a birthday wish. Eventually after some discussion, fearful Fred and fearless Coco agree that the spherical object could have been anything.

As a result Fred now feels ready to face his fear.
When something else unknown comes along Fred is able to do something he’d never have done without Coco’s support: he joins her in a voyage of discovery. A friend can make all the difference when it comes to facing things that make us feel unsure or frightened.

This smashing story about finding the courage to go out and explore the world is touching and empowering. Ashling’s use of different perspectives for her beautiful scenes underscores the different viewpoints of the two characters.

On a similar theme is

Hello Autumn
Jo Lindley
Farshore

This story (the second in a sequence) features four friends – the Little Seasons – Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter in human form. As the book opens they realise that Summer must hand the weather crown to Autumn so the new season can begin. Doing so triggers changes such as the appearance of a chill mist and the heavens turning from green to golden yellow; the friends feel the call of adventure.
Some fun games ensue on the way to the Tick Tock Tree for a leaf romp but the sighting of ripe juicy blackberries causes them to pause and three friends start feasting. Not so Autumn: he worries about such possibilities as pricking a finger, or becoming entangled in the brambles.

A similar thing happens each time one of the others suggests trying something new: what his friends see as fun games, Autumn sees as worrying situations. His weather crown weighs heavy.
When the four reach the Tick Tock Tree with its abundance of fallen leaves, Autumn’s fear mounts even higher as a cascade of terrifying ‘what-ifs’ invade his thoughts. Suddenly there’s a cry for help. Summer is stuck on a branch. What happens after that involves teamwork, resulting in a jumbled tumble and a fear-releasing realisation for Autumn. What a relief; now he’s ready to face the world.

Vibrantly coloured scenes accompany an important message about facing your fears with the support of friends. A cute story and also some gentle learning about seasonal change that’s just right for sharing with foundation stage children.

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