Review Blog

Jan 02 2018

Gemma gets the jitters by Katrina Roe

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Wombat Books, 2017. ISBN 9781925563139
"Gemma has a new camera! When she visits the mountains, she wants to get the perfect photo. But at the top of the lookout, Gemma gets the jitters. Will she let her fear of heights stop her from achieving her dream? Join Jemma, Marty and their friends as they help Gemma overcome her jitters."
From the mountains to the city tower, Gemma struggles to overcome her fear of heights. Her friends support her and provide her with a new mantra, "Just take one small step at a time." By slowly encouraging her in her efforts to climb their treehouse, escalator, jungle gym and elevator, her friends gradually help Gemma to overcome her fears and prepare for her special present, the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb. By admitting her fears and accepting the assistance of her friends, Gemma manages to complete the climb and share her excitement with them all.
Containing a simple storyline and some strong cartoon illustrations, the book sends a message to the reader that anxiety is not abnormal or something of which to be ashamed. Practice and team work are required to overcome certain fears as is depicted in this little moral tale. Although I am not a major fan of the illustrations, I appreciated the fact that the book is accessible to Australian children due to the familiar landmarks depicted throughout, particularly the bridge and Sydney Opera House in the distance.
The final pages of the book offer notes for parents and carers on how to address the issue of anxiety. These are written by Collett Smart, billed as a consultant psychologist, teacher, lecturer, writer and parent. Growth mindset is highlighted in these pages and could prove useful to parents who are uncertain as to how to best support their children.
Jo Schenkel

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