‘Once I had a secret no one could see…’, the opening words of this charming picture book from debut picture book creator, Sarah Christou. The secret kept by the young protagonist is how she is feeling – her worries and anxieties. She gives them a body and a name, a creature she calls Blue. As Blue looms ever more present, she finally manages to tell a friend about her fear, her anxiety. Blue starts to shrink. The more the feelings are aired and shared, the smaller Blue grows, becoming manageable.
There are now an increasing number of picture books emerging to help young children confront their fears and to open up about them. This is an excellent addition and invites both adult and child to share. While blue is the traditional colour to symbolise sad or anxious feelings, as the author points out, it is only one colour in a spectrum. There is no promise that these feelings will disappear – rather that to feel ‘blue’ on occasion is all right
Christou’s uncluttered illustrations using a limited palette of colour washes combine with her clear outlines which add texture to the images. They fill each spread to engage the reader the moment the book is opened. The text is as clear and direct, the setting recognisable and every day; no fantasy here The message is as immediate as the narrative and the illustrations. This is a book to recommend – and an illustrator to watch.