Debra Tidball (text) Kim Siew (illus.), The Scared Book, Hachette Australia, 29 August 2017, 32pp., $26.99 (hbk), ISBN 9780734417503
With its very sparse text and growling ogres, this book aims to give the young reader self-empowerment. It shows children that monsters cannot harm them and are nothing to be scared of. In fact, they can be flicked away with a child’s finger.
The book is too scared to tell its story until it is clear that the child reader has scared away all the monsters it contains. It is an unusual picture book with a clever and amusing twist which children aged between 3 and 8 will enjoy and want to read again. Both the text by Debra Tidball and illustrations by Kim Siew work well together to portray scary monsters who turn out to be scared monsters. Learning about personal power is at the heart of this book – a worthwhile message for all children, as is the relaxation activity the book asks them to do for it to calm down.
Cute, quirky, funny and just a tiny bit scary, The Scared Book is full of monsters which many children might find worrying or possibly frightening. However, we soon discover that their claws, fangs and multiple eyes can’t hurt anyone.
Reviewed by Grace Nolan