Cheeky Worries

Cheeky Worries
Patrick Davey and Anna Smith, illustrated by Anne Wilson
Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Finn is just like other boys, fun loving and adventurous; he has worries, just like other boys but he doesn’t know this as the story starts.

His worries come upon him one day as he sits on the top deck of a bus right at the front, pretending to be the driver:suddenly a frightening thought pops into his head: suppose Mummy gets off without me. His heart beats faster and he gets butterflies in his tummy. Holding onto his mummy’s hand helps him forget his scary thought and all is well.

That night another scary thought arrives in his mind. So scared does Finn feel about the possibility of a monster lurking beneath his bed that he doesn’t want to snuggle down inside.

The following day he gets a scary thought about falling from the slide and off he gets.

Sitting dejectedly alone on a bench, he hears a whooshing sound and right beside him is an owl. Now this owl knows lots about scary thoughts and their effects as she’s seen many other people who have been similarly troubled. She calls the thoughts ‘cheeky worries’ on account of the way they creep uninvited into a person’s mind and by distorting the truth, prevent them doing what they want. Moreover the owl has several strategies Finn can use to dispel his worries before they get the better of him.

Having shared her wisdom, the owl gives Finn one of her ‘magic’ feathers. Then in answer to the boy’s question regarding the number of feathers the owl has missing, she bids him farewell with a parting, ‘Because, Finn, my brave little friend, everybody – however big or small – has cheeky worries’. Finn then starts noticing other people with strategically placed feathers.

With Anne Wilson’s bright, empathetic illustrations, this engaging, hugely reassuring story for young children was written by an NHS psychiatrist (Patrick Davey) and a clinical psychologist working in the NHS (Anna Smith). The book discusses anxiety in a child-friendly manner, giving young children the tools needed to deal with their fears.

One to add to classroom resources and family bookshelves.

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