by Holly L Niner and Illustrated by Greg Swearingen
Within these beautifully soft airbrushed painted pictures by Greg Swearingen, Kevin, a young boy with sandy blonde coloured hair (reminding me so much of my younger brother at that age, even the hair cut), appears to have a lot on his mind. Constantly checking the door of his closet is closed, that his desk chair is in just so, and lining his cars on the shelf over and over again before bedtime, he would also often ask the same question more than once during school, always checking. It was evident Kevin suffered an anxiety of some kind. His worried parents took him to see a counselor who discovered he had OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). Through gentle encouragement, by his wonderfully patient counselor, his parents and those around him, he was able to learn when “Mr Worry” as he called it, came calling to be able to overcome some of the anxiety behaviours. Obviously it is not an easy process for anyone to try to have some control over what they do or say, if diagnosed with OCD. Holly has written this lovely book with such feeling you can’t help but be there for him and applaud Kevin’s goals. Again there is a note to Parents and Teachers in the front of the book from Holly about her son, who was also diagnosed with OCD. Interesting is the fact that I noticed both Holly’s son and Kevin in the book both knew there was something wrong and wanted help, but into days society it takes a loving and safe environment for them to yield their concerns and get that help to try to overcome it. Also it was pleasing to read that Holly realised that it required more than parental skill to help her son and sought professional advice. While reading the story and the note in the front from Holly, one cannot help but feel such compassion for someone facing this every day, and realising how consuming it is for them. It is believed that one carries out these behaviours to get rid of obsessive thoughts which provides only temporary relief. But not carrying out the rituals causes the anxiety. This is indeed a wonderful tool for teaching children about OCD.
I found myself reading and re-reading this movingly thought-provoking story. I realise that while this little boy had a serious case of anxiety, there are obviously other forms of anxiety levels, not necessarily OCD. I remember after my husband was seriously attacked at work many, many years ago now, for a few years I could not sleep without the light on in the spare bedroom, and going around checking and re checking all locks on windows, doors and looking at certain things such as plants placed on the deck. Just knowing they were all where they were suppose to be. Luckily my darling husband patiently put up with my repeated actions until I eventually overcame the anxiety.
With some of the books I have been reviewing lately along with my co-Childrens Hub writers friends, I thought I would share this, which I felt quite appropriate