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Walter and the No-Need-To Worry Suit by Rachel Bright is a lovely picture book about dealing with a child’s fears, told as an animal fable. It would be perfect for children aged four to seven.  Younger children might enjoy the story too, but the wider implications of the tale would probably be somewhat lost on them.  It’s still a lovely, funny story without having to think about or deal with any of the morality of the story though, so if you’ve got younger children and are looking for a clever, funny story to keep them amused, this will do the trick.

This would be wonderful for a topic on fears and worries in say Early Years, particularly at the start of the school year. It would be a lovely way to start children talking about some of the things that may be worrying them about their first days and weeks in school. It would also work as part of a wider topic on emotions and recognising what they are and how they affect us.

Walter is a donkey with a lot on his mind.  Walter lives in Woollybottom, near all his friends, and his particular best friend, Winnie the horse.

It is coming up to Woollybottom’s sports day, and Walter has been put in for three events; running as fast as you can, cheese eating and bouncing.  Walter is worried.  Walter is always worried. Walter worries about anything and everything.

Walter goes to see each of his friends and explains his worries to them.  They try to put his mind to rest, but it isn’t really working, until Winnie comes up with the idea of building Walter a No-Need-To Worry suit, which will protect him and save him from his worst fears.

Walter is relieved. He dons the suit for the sports day, but soon finds out that he cannot participate the way he wants to in the events, if he is wearing his suit. Tired of being left out, Walter sheds his suit for the last event, and surprises himself and everyone else with the result.

This is a lovely story about the things we worry about and how they stop us from doing what we are good at, and how we can overcome them.  What I particularly liked about it was that despite the message being very obvious, and there being plenty to discuss with children here, it wasn’t preachy at all.  I also liked the fact that there was such a lot of humour in the book. The things that Walter worries about are wonderfully ridiculous and my six year old was really entranced by the strangeness of Walter’s fears.  He kept giggling at Rachel Bright’s excellent illustrations of them too.

It is a great way of showing children that the things they fear are often rather ludicrous if we take them out and look at them in the clear light of day, and that it is possible to move from a place of fear to one of amusement and even acceptance.

It looks, from the cover details like the book is one of a series by Rachel Bright, and we will certainly be looking out for others in the library.

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