Danny and the Blue Cloud: Coping with Childhood Depression

illus. by Shirley Ng-Benitez. 32p. Magination. Apr. 2016. Tr $14.95. ISBN 9781433821035.
K-Gr 2—Danny is a young bear who finds himself in a perpetual state of sadness, a "blue cloud"—he is unable to enjoy play, is often in a bad mood, and wants to stay in bed all day. While he receives encouraging remarks from his mother, Danny is eventually approached by Barnaby Rabbit, who is set on Danny being "defunkified." So begins the process of using motivational movements like hopping and dancing, and positive mantras ("Think GOOD things about yourself, even if it feels easier to think bad things") to cheer Danny up. Eventually—after following the "feel-good rules"—Danny is playing and interacting with his friends, and the blue cloud that lived above his head becomes a rainbow. The twee illustrations of woodland creatures will be a familiar sight and comfort to readers. Children do experience depression, and the back matter addresses strategies for caregivers explained in simple language that is not overwhelming or full of jargon. Because the book is aimed at a younger age group, it treats the subject very simplistically and allows no ambiguity. But many children won't find it that simple, and parents might want to discuss the challenges of applying these rules throughout their days.
VERDICT This is a useful addition to parenting collections. Library staff may want to encourage parents to read the book through first, including the endnotes, to decide how best to introduce and discuss the story.

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