As the mum of a boy with an overactive imagination who sees monsters everywhere, I can relate to Adam McCoy’s motive in writing this book and I think that he has done a very good job of it indeed.
Kaleb is scared of things, things that he imagines and things that are real like dark spaces and insects. When he touches a surprise object in his yard one day that suddenly and magically appears, he becomes more brave and puts it down to the encounter. But did that bravery really come from that object or from somewhere closer to home?
The book is well written as it charts Kaleb’s progression, showing the creations of Kaleb’s mind as well as describing his day to day fears, and the illustrations are bright and apt according to the story. I think that there is much for children who are uncertain about their fears to relate to here, whether these are made up in their own heads or created by the demands that are placed on them by the expectations of other kids, the dreaded peer pressure. I liked the fact that, in this book, the onus is not on the fear coming from others like bullies – all of the other kids in the book are friendly and not the focus – but that they are caused by the child’s perceptions of the situation and so, are capable of being conquered.
It is a story that is simply told and this makes it accessible and easily relatable. I think that any parent who was looking to discuss this issue with their child could use this book as a starting point; a way of opening up the path for them to talk about it. Seeing from Kaleb’s example that it is possible may enable them to work towards becoming stronger and more courageous.
This review was first published on Reedsy Discovery where I was privileged to read it as an ARC.