This month's book round-up includes a couple of children's titles designed to reassure and prepare children for some of life's less than lovely experiences. In What If...? by 2009 Children's Laureate Anthony Browne, Joe is nervous about his first big party and as he walks with his mum along the street his imagination starts to run wild.
Any parents (and that's surely every parent) who's fielded a barrage of '...but what ifs?' from children about to embark on some new experience however ordinary or run-of-the-mill will know that the childish capacity for imagining the worst is only exceeded by their relentlessly Aristotelian questioning of parental reassurances. Anthony Browne's book will certainly be a useful addition to the armoury of rebuttals and reassurances that parents sometimes find difficult to come up with. At least I do.
When it Snows by debut author Richard Collingridge isn't overtly designed to do anything other than delight children (and reading parents) with a tale full of festive magic and one with a clever twist. When everything grinds to a halt because of the snow, one small boy and his teddy bear refuse to let the weather spoil their fun and embark on a magical journey involving polar bears, snowmen, elves, reindeer and - of course - Father Christmas himself.
Finally, a remarkable book by Lt. Col. Chris MacGregor. Yes, that's 'Lieutenant Colonel' as in a serving British Army officer, in this case with the King's Royal Hussars. (Hussah!)
As almost all forces parents (but also innumerable truck-drivers, doctors, actors, businessmen/women and sportsmen and women) must know only too well, some jobs necessarily involve leaving home, sometimes for long periods of time. MacGregor began writing the book in 2007 when he returned from an emotional tour of Iraq. Having commanded over 100 soldiers who between them left over 50 children behind, MacGregor realised the importance of preparing families for the extended absence of one or other parent as well as the beneficial effect of saying proper goodbyes.
My Daddy's Going Away includes a foreword by HRH The Prince of Wales and proceeds from the sale of the book are helping to support the work of the veteran's mental health charity Combat Stress.