Glitch by Michelle Worthington ill Andrew Plant

Glitch was a trembly, twittery, twitchy kind of bug,
who built amazing creations from the treasures he found on the rubbish heap where he lived.
June was much more calm, which made her a brilliant billycart driver and his most trusted friend.

Glitch and his friend June enter the Billycart race every year. The race is held at the tip where they live and their billycarts made from bits they find there. Glitch is great at building billycarts but not so great at being the navigator when June drives in the race. Each year something goes wrong and they – the team with the best billycart – miss out. This year, when they have a crash in the lead up to the race, June hatches a plan. It depends on trembly, twittery, twitchy Glitch doing something he’s never done before. Illustrations include colourful and friendly-looking bugs of all hues. The tip becomes a treasure trove and a racetrack.

‘Glitch’ celebrates the friendship between two bugs. Together they make a great team – or they would, if Glitch could get over his twitchiness and focus on race day. This year, with the best billycart ever, things are looking good until a prematch accident turns everything upside down. Glitch has to overcome his twitches – and they’re bigger than ever – if the pair are to complete a race. Themes include friendship and bravery. Recommended for pre- and early-schoolers.

Glitch, Michelle Worthington ill Andrew Plant
Ford Street, 2017
ISBN: 9781925272710

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller
www.clairesaxby.com

Small Things, by Mel Tregonning

A small boy worries about and struggles with many things: being left out of peer groups, not being good at sport, struggling at school work. Each thing seemingly small in itself, together they erode his self-confidence and he feels himself diminishing, followed by monsters who eat away at his sense of self. At risk of being overwhelmed, he finally gets help from his family, and starts to find renewed self confidence, as well as an awareness that he is not alone in the struggles: other people, too, feel haunted by unseen monsters.

Small Things is an amazing picture book. In graphic novel format, this wordless book says so very much about struggles with mental illness, self worth and anxiety. The black and white illustrations bring the boys’ troubles to life as monsters with tentacles and big teeth which float around him, and leave him broken, though when he gets help he becomes whole again. The monsters don’t completely disappear though, a reminder that healing can be an ongoing process.

This is a book which will speak to children and adults alike, and the story behind the book is one which should also be known, with the author sadly having lost her own battle with depression before the book’s completion.

Small Things, by Mel Tregonning
Allen & Unwin, 2016
ISBN 9781742379791

Chook Doolan Saves the Day by James Roy ill Lucinda Gifford

Hi. I’m Chook, and you’re not.

This is my family. We’re the Doolans.

I’m the little one on the end.

No, the other end.

My mum and dad call me Simon, because that’s my name. Simon Doolan.Some of the kids at school have a different name for me.

They call me Chook.

Hi. I’m Chook, and you’re not.

This is my family. We’re the Doolans.

I’m the little one on the end.

No, the other end.

My mum and dad call me Simon, because that’s my name. Simon Doolan.Some of the kids at school have a different name for me.

They call me Chook.

Chook Doolan is a slightly anxious young boy who worries about many aspects of his life, at home and at school. At school lots of people play soccer, including his friend Joe. But the thought of being on the same football ground as Ashton Findus, Marty Petrovic and a ball fills him with fear. And he’s sure he’s no good at it. His big brother Ricky and friend Joe try to share their love of the game by teaching some of the rules and skills. Perhaps there’s a place for Chook after all. Illustrations appear on every opening. Text is large and includes hypersize words. Chapters are short.

‘Chook Doolan’ is a new series of short chapter books for the newly independent reader in transition from fully illustrated books to chapter books. Chook is a realistic character set in a contemporary setting familiar to many young readers. His anxieties too will resonate with young readers. Chook is a keen observer of his world, and while he worries about things, he does not let them stop him from trying new experiences. Recommended for newly independent readers in the early years of school.

Chook Doolan Saves the Day , James Roy ill Lucinda Gifford
Walker Books Australia 2016 ISBN: 9781922244956

The Little Book of Anxiety, by Kerri Sackville

‘But I can’t sleep, I shrieked. What if this is a horrible mistake? What if I can’t think of any times I’ve been anxious? What if I haven’t been anxious enough to write a book about anxiety?'<br>T propped himself up on one elbow, rolled his eyes and gave me a pitying smile. ‘Kerri, if there is one thing I know for certain, you are anxious enough to write a book about anxiety. Now go to sleep!'<br>I didn’t sleep, of course.

Kerrie Sackville is a mother, wife, successful author, columnist and blogger. And she suffers anxiety. She doesn’t get just a little bit anxious – she suffers crippling anxiety, which hampers her daily life severely, even though she manages to hide it from many people. Her fingernails are well bitten, her husband dies on an almost daily basis (in her fretful imagination) and she becomes hysterical in lifts – among other places.

In The Little Book of Anxiety: Confessions from a Worried Life Sackville shares her experiences with a highly readable blend of honesty, humour and practical information. A wonderful help for anyone who has suffered anxiety, and a tool for anyone who wants to understand the condition, The Little Book of Anxiety: Confessions from a Worried Life is also simply an entertaining, highly accessible read.

The Little Book of Anxiety: Confessions from a Worried Life

The Little Book of Anxiety: Confessions from a Worried Life, by Kerri Sackville
Ebury Press, 2012
ISBN 9781742755366

This book is available from good bookstores or online from Fishpond.