Review Blog

May 18 2015

Tilly's big problem by Rose Stanley

cover image

Ill. by Lisa Allen. Starfish Bay Publishing, 2014. ISBN 9780994100306
(Age:(for children under 8). Recommended. Themes: Problems; Counselling; Social and emotional development; Problem Solving; Peer support. Tilly has a problem so big that she is unable to deal with it on her own. Her close friend, Ned, comes up with a plan to share the problem with a 'big person', and they list the likely candidates and come up with a test to see who is the most suitable to share the details of the Problem. At no stage in this book do we find out what the 'Big Problem' might be, but the fact that it is something that cannot be solved without some intervention is the essence of the problem.
There is an element of humour in the manner in which the children problem-solve to select the favoured counsellor, and the illustrator has a suitable quirky, naive style. This masks what might be a serious issue for some children, 'Who do I tell when I have a problem that overwhelms me?' This book may be used in discussions about who would be suitable to entrust with issues.
This is definitely a book to encourage students to share with school counsellors. It does not minimise children's issues, nor suggest that they might be easily solved.
Carolyn Hull

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