Anxious Charlie to the Rescue

Candlewick. Oct. 2019. 32p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781536209167.
PreS-Gr 2–Charlie is a dachshund who “did everything the same, every day.” Successfully repeated tasks like taking three hops out of bed and walking on the same side of a tree make him feel that things will “turn out okay.” When he hears that a friend is in trouble, though, he rushes to the scene and saves the day, even though it means he can’t complete all of his daily rituals. The dog realizes that things still turned out okay, despite the disruption to his routine. The next morning Charlie decides to complete most of his tasks, but not all of them, and now recognizes that things can still be wonderful. Ink-and-watercolor illustrations depict an appealing cast of animal friends. Charlie’s anxiety comes through in his eyes and posture, but there’s a lightness to the drawings that softens the stress appropriately. The relative ease with which Charlie solves his problem does not reflect the complex challenges of anxiety-related disorders, but it’s not meant to. Instead, the story provides an accessible introduction to how worry can affect the life of a child, or a dachshund.
VERDICT An appealing story that can serve as a useful conversation starter for discussions about childhood anxiety and dealing with change.

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