I teach an ethics class for little kids on Sunday mornings. It’s a small group and the kids don’t come every Sunday, because lives are complicated. The group ranges in age from 3 to 9, so it can be a challenge to find things that hold their interest.
I have a curriculum, but I also tailor the class to who is there and what kind of vibe I’m getting. We have a nice little library of kids books, and for the most part I have been able to find a book for every occasion, see also my review of When Mommy Was Mad.
Two of the kids in the class – the 3 year old and the 8 year old are dealing with some anxiety. The 8 year old suffers from the curse of being extremely smart and his awareness of what’s happening around him is greater than his ability to put it into a manageable context. The 3 year old’s parents are going through an ugly divorce. For both of them, their first instinct is to close up, retreat, hide and become suspicious of others. I am always looking for ways to nudge them into a different direction, and books are the best for showing other ways to be.
Kids like repetition, so I have read Room on the Broom several times. One of the reasons I like it is because it shows several anxious situations made better through community, sharing, and cooperation. The Witch and her cat are riding their broom and along the way she loses her hat, her bow, and her wand. A dog, a bird, and a frog help her find her things and ask for a ride on the broom. When the Broom breaks, she encounters a dragon who is going to eat her with fries until it is scared away by a strange creature with 4 heads, eight eyes and strange voices. The witch conjures up a new broom that has seats for them all and off they fly.
What I hope they are getting from the book is that they can face the things that scare them with help from their friends, that everyone is better off when they share and work together. Aside from the lessons I hope the book is teaching, the verse is engaging and easy to read. The art work is cute. This is the same team that brought us The Gruffalo, which is not to be confused with Mark Ruffalo.
I don’t really have a better way to end this review, so here’s Mark Ruffalo looking confused about being dragged into this.