Sunday, January 21, 2018

Unthinking It: Don't Think About Purple Elephants by Susan Whelan

Sometimes Sophie worried.

She didn't worry on weekdays when she went to school and played with her friends.

Sophie is a part-time worrier. The problem is--she worries about things at night when she (and everyone else) are supposed to be sleeping.

At bedtime when everything was quiet and still and there were no games to play and lessons to learn, Sophie started to worry.

It's a common human problem, not limited to anxious little girls. Thoughts that go bump in the night or things that might happen tend to take over all of our brains in the still of the night.

Sophie anguishes over all the little what ifs of her life--what if she forgets her lunchbox or Mum makes Brussels sprouts for dinner and actually insists she eat them?

Her family tried to help.

Her brother Oliver loans her a thrilling book to read in bed, but the cover illustration gives her the worrisome willies. Dad offers hot milk with honey at bedtime, but soon Sophie is fretting about wetting the bed!

Finally Mum comes up with an intriguing suggestion.

Close you eyes and... don't think about purple elephants.

Sophie tries not to think about cute little purple elephants, clever purple elephants doing circus tricks, plushy little purple elephant toys.... but when it comes right down to it....

It's really hard NOT to think about purple elephants.

But, funny thing... Sophie finds that when she thinks about nothing but purple elephants, she slips right off to sleep, in Susan Whelan's Don't Think About Purple Elephants (EK Books, 2017 Am. ed.), in a charming little bedtime story craftily crafted for the child insomniac. Artist Gwynneth Jones adds to the fun with a passel of watercolored purple pachyderms that cavort through Sophie's dreams. Pair this one with Lemony Snicket's clever tale of the dark at the foot of the stairs, The Dark (Bccb Blue Ribbon Picture Book Awards (Awards)) (read review here.)

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