I Am (Not) Scared

illus. by Christopher Weyant. 32p. ebook available. Amazon/Two Lions. Mar. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781503937451.
PreS-Gr 1—Two unnamed bearlike creatures, a small purple one and a larger brown one, discuss their fears. The smaller of the two accuses his big friend of being scared, but the brown creature denies it and suggests that it is the small one who is really afraid. Both try to minimize their fears as they approach a roller coaster. The little purple one says that there are things more scary than this roller coaster, such as a tub full of spiders or snakes. Then the roller coaster stops for them, and, to make matters worse, there is a snake riding on it. Yikes. The three creatures cling to one another and admit that they really are scared as the coaster dips and bends. The final image suggests that being scared is OK, even fun, as the trio get ready for a second ride. The text is minimal and easy to read. The design makes use of lots of white space, with big, two-page illustrations. Children will not be distracted by details in the pictures—the focus is on the emotions. Big, blocky letters holler at readers, making the noise of thumping hearts and whooshing coasters part of the background for the shouting friends. The cartoonish visuals and simple text balance each other well.
VERDICT This appealing read-aloud is a good place to start a conversation about being afraid and how we sometimes enjoy the adrenaline rush of overcoming a little fear. Recommended for one-on-one and small group sharing.

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