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Not Today, Celeste! - by Liza Stevens (Hardcover)

Not Today, Celeste! - by  Liza Stevens (Hardcover) - image 1 of 1
Not Today, Celeste! - by  Liza Stevens (Hardcover) - image 1 of 1
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About this item


Number of Pages: 36

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Format: Hardcover

Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Age Range: 4-8 years

Book theme: Depression & Mental Illness

Author: Liza Stevens

Language: English

Street Date: June 21, 2016
TCIN: 51358363
UPC: 9781785920080
Item Number (DPCI): 248-19-5204


PreS-Gr 2-A canine's perspective on her owner's depression sparks dialogue about mental illness in this picture book import. Celeste is a happy dog who loves her human, Rupert. The young man provides her with everything she could want, from treats and cuddles to walks and plenty of playtime. Then one day, 'something different' comes over Rupert, keeping him from enjoying his time with Celeste and even getting in the way of his ability to care for her. Celeste seeks out a neighbor, who approaches Rupert about getting help. Stevens's use of a pet as a stand-in for a child's experience works reasonably well-Celeste's inability to understand Rupert's problem mirrors a child's distance from the adult world, and it is the humans (adults) who take responsibility for addressing Rupert's illness. Readers see Rupert attending a support group, but the text focuses on Celeste's joy in returning to her routine with the owner she adores. Throughout, the author underscores the importance of understanding and naming emotions and implies that solutions for mental illness are adult concerns. Cartoon illustrations use plenty of white space to spotlight tender moments between Celeste and Rupert, and varied font sizes highlight emotional vocabulary. Rupert changes from full color to gray when he begins to feel depressed, and while his color has returned by the end, the text makes it clear that his depression hasn't gone away entirely. An extensive note written by a mental health specialist offers guidelines for sharing the book with young children and suggests ways to continue the conversation. Occasional Briticisms may sound odd to American ears but won't detract from the story. VERDICT A solid starting point for talking about mental illness, but adults should be prepared to clarify and deepen the discussion.--School Library Journal
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