Picture Perfect Book Friday: Frizzy the Fearful


Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday where I link up with Susanna Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of picture book writers, illustrators, librarians and others who contribute a picture book review and related resources for parents, teachers and children.

I usually pick books that I have recommended in Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.  If you click on the link, you will visit the wonderful blog of Kimberley Moran’s First in Maine.  This former preschool teacher did a lovely review of my book yesterday. 

I know it’s hard to think about the gift-giving holidays of winter when we are just entering these scarlet and gold days of autumn…but Christmas and Hanukkah and Kwanza will be here before we know it.  If you are needing a great gift for a teacher, parent or grandparent of young kids, a daycare provider or anyone who loves reading, crafting and cooking with children…or anyone who might be a little hesitant about doing activities with kids, please direct them to my website.  They can grab a copy of this award-winning resource that makes planning fun-filled educational self-esteem building activities a snap…and we are offering FREE SHIPPING and a small BONUS gift for the next 30 days!  THIS IS A GIFT THAT REQUIRES NO BATTERIES…IT’S POWERED BY A CHILD’S IMAGINATION AND A PARENT’S POSITIVE PARTICIPATION!

Young children are often beset with many different fears: fear of the dark and going to sleep, fear of monsters, fear of separation and getting lost, fear of new experiences and new places and fear of illness and death. 

Do you have a young child who is afraid of something? 

Is that fear keeping him or her from joining activities or socializing? 

Sitting down and talking to your child is a good step to take to try to help your child overcome that fear.  But sometimes it’s hard to start a conversation about difficult topics.  That’s why picture books are so valuable because they set the stage for a relaxed discussion about almost anything. 

For this situation,a wonderful choice would be Frizzy The Fearful by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat.  This little tiger is afraid of EVERYTHING, but with the help of his friends and mother, he learns that he can cope with those fears.


Frizzy the Fearful

Written by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat

Illustrated by John Wollner

Publisher: Holiday House (1983)

Ages: 4 and up


Acknowledging and overcoming fears, helping others, self-esteem, friendship


Poor little Frizzy Tiger!  He is afraid of almost everything…high places and low places, the dark, loud noises and pits in fruit.  He avoids going places with his friends and misses out on many fun-filled activities because he doesn’t want anyone to know how frightened he is.  When he climbs a tree to help a friend, even though he is terrified, Frizzy realizes that everyone has fears, and he begins to feel a little better about his own situation.

Why do I like this book

Children love to hear about others who have experiences and feelings similar to their own.  This is a wonderful book to share with any child, but especially one who has some fears…Frizzy Tiger has so many.  Young kids will be able to relate to the little tiger and will cheer him on, hopefully acknowledging and perhaps overcoming their own fears as they do so.  The illustrations keep pace with the text and will help a young listener identify with the many situations that frighten Frizzy.  During the story or afterwards, the adult reader will have a great opportunity to listen with respect to what the child has to say.  Perhaps sharing an experience from your own childhood will also help the child understand that everyone has fears.

Related Activities:


Here’s a quick and easy craft project that any young child would love to make.  Perhaps your child has been to the dentist and was very brave in the chair…or maybe she finished her first week of nursery school and even though she was hesitant at first, she has made the adjustment and is enjoying her day there.  Pin this badge on to affirm his willingness to overcome his fears and his acceptance of life’s challenges.

 Education.com has instructions for a bravery badge: http://www.education.com/activity/article/bravery-badge/

You will need: Construction paper, aluminum foil, glue stick, ribbon, scissors, crayons or markers and one safety pin.

1.      Cut out 3 circles of different sizes.

2.      Glue the circles, one on top of the other.

3.      Glue the ribbon on the back.

4.      Write the child’s name on the smallest circle. 

5.      Cut out small stars from aluminum foil or draw stars or use gummed star


Cooking with kids is another great way to extend the learning experience that starts with reading the book.

Here’s a simple fruit salad that is a nutritious snack or lunch.  We all know how important it is to encourage young children to eat healthy foods.  We need to make every meal count…especially snacks!



You will need: 1 banana, a small bunch of seedless grapes, 1 pear, 1 navel orange and a few leaes of lettuce to use as the base.  You can substitute any fruits your child enjoys…just try to add one or two new ones that he can try.

1.      Wash all the fruit and lettuce and put the lettuce leaves in the bowls.

2.      Slice the apple and pear and arrange on the lettuce.

3.      Peel the orange, separate into sections and arrange on the plate.

4.      Peel the banana, slice and add to the arrangement.

5.      Cut each grape in half and add to the salad.

6.      Serves 2-3 as a main dish (add some grilled chicken strips or cheese cubes for protein).   Serves 4-6 as a side salad or snack (add a couple of whole grain crackers).


The Show-Me-How School Initiative is still looking for A FEW GOOD SCHOOLS.  Please leave a comment on this post, telling which school or other child-care facility you would like to nominate to receive a free copy of Show Me How!


This post is part of a series for parents and teachers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susanna Leonard Hill.  Click on her link and find lots of other picture book suggestions with summaries and activities.   This is an unbelievable resource for any parent, teacher or children’s librarian.

And please don’t forget to visit my website for a chance to get a copy of Show Me How!…FREE SHIPPING AND A FREE BONUS GIFT FOR THE NEXT 30 DAYS!!!

Related articles

Sunday Post: Stairway to Self-Esteem

Jake at Time after Time has a Sunday Post Challenge and every week he provides a theme…this week’s theme is STAIRWAY.

I always try to tie in the theme with something related to parenting.  Since the dictionary defines “stairway” as a passageway from one level to another by a series of steps, I’ve decided to outline the basic components or “steps” in the stairway to building a strong self-esteem that are found in the introduction to Show Me How!

How can we help our kids navigate the passageway of childhood and achieve a positive self-image?

What steps does a child have to climb to reach a level of high self-esteem?

  1. MASTER TASKS AND SKILLS…Let your child help around the house.

2.  VALUE ONE’S OWN STRENGTHS AND QUALITIES…Encourage your child in different pursuits.


3.      FEEL APPRECIATED, LOVED AND ACCEPTED…Spend loving and positive time with your child.


4.      LEARN TO EXPRESS FEELINGS…Allow your child to talk about his joy, anger and sadness.


5.      ACKNOWLEDGING AND COPING WITH FEARS…Share things you were afraid of as a child.


6.      FEELING GOOD ABOUT ONE’S BODY AND ONESELF…Celebrate the gift of life and dance.


I just got back from spending a glorious week in New Hampshire, taking care of my three-year old grandson.  His favorite book: Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss.  His favorite game: Soccer/kick ball.  His favorite TV show: Peppa Pig.  His favorite foods: Fresh strawberries and bananas. 

It was hard to leave to come home…I’m already looking forward to my next trip.

Here are a few websites with other resources and info on helping children build healthy self-esteem:





The SMH Library Project:


We are in the final two weeks of the Show-Me-How Library Project, so if you haven’t done it already, please nominate your favorite library in the comment section!  Twenty-five libraries will receive a free copy of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.  NOMINATIONS CLOSE April 30!  Don’t let your library lose out on the chance of getting this award-winning resource for parents and teachers and your entire community.  A big thank you to all of those who have already spread the word about out this great opportunity via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterist, Google+ or by mentioning it in your posts!

Want more information about Jake’s Sunday Post?


And here are some other bloggers who are doing Jake’s Sunday Post:








I also wanted to mention that today is Earth Day 2012…how will you help observe this special day?  Children can get involved in local park and playground cleanups.  Perhaps you can take a walk around your community…bring a big plastic garbage bag so that everyone can help pick up litter.  Maybe there are special events going on in your neighborhood…why not check them out.



The Fourth Lesson of Nanny McPhee: BE BRAVE!

A grandfather teaches his granddaughter to use...

Image via Wikipedia

The dictionary defines bravery as:

“Courage in the face of danger, difficulty or pain…a quality of spirit that enables you to face danger, difficulty or pain without showing fear.”

We often think that brave people are without fear…but this is not what bravery is all about.  In fact, in interviews with soldiers who have won medals for bravery, they often admit to having been afraid during their action of courage.

And perhaps that is the true meaning of bravery…when we proceed and follow through danger, pain or difficulties, even though WE ARE AFRAID.  There are brave people all around us, dealing with all sorts of problems, but continuing on.

 Nanny McPhee’s fourth lesson to the children is to BE BRAVE.

Why, you may ask, do young children need to be brave.  Aren’t we there to protect them and watch out for them…and most of the time all they do is play, right? 🙂

Honestly, I think sometimes young children are the bravest of us all…so many new situations and experiences, so much to learn in order to navigate their way through those early years. 

In addition, many young children have fears about a number of things which they need to acknowledge and overcome.  Some of the most common are:

  • Fear of the dark
  • Fear of new experiences and new situations
  • Fear of illness and death
  • Fear of monsters (the monster may not be real, but your child’s fear is)

Children need to be brave about other things as well.  Picture this: You are five years old and your entire family is crazy about sports….Mom and Dad play on an adult volleyball team and all your older and younger brothers and sisters love football, baseball and hockey.  You, however, love music and want to learn to play the violin or the piano.

It takes a lot of courage for a young child to follow his own muse if it differs from that of his family or peers!

There are many children’s picture books that address this issue.  One of my favorite stories is OLIVER BUTTON IS A SISSY by Tomie de Paola.  In the story, Oliver Button wants to be a dancer and even though Oliver’s father would rather have him playing football with the other boys, he lets Oliver attend dance classes.  Oliver stays true to his goal, even though his classmates tease him.  When there is a talent show, everyone is impressed with Oliver’s great dancing, and his father and classmates are very proud of him.

In my my new parenting book, you will find a simple eco-friendly craft project and an easy child-friendly healthful cooking activity to help you extend the learning experience after you read OLIVER BUTTON with your child.

On that note, I want to let everyone know about an EXCITING PRE-VALENTINE’S DAY SPECIAL on my website

It’s called SHARE THE LOVE

and it will go from 12:01am SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 5th TO MONDAY, FEBRUARY 7th AT 11:59pm.

If you buy one copy of SHOW ME HOW! at the regular cover price of $44.95, you will get a second copy for FREE! 

If you have been thinking about getting a copy for yourself, but were hesitating at the $35.00 website sale price, NOW IS THE TIME TO GRAB YOUR COPY AND HAVE A COPY TO GIVE TO:


At the BOGO price, you are paying $22.50 for a BRAND-NEW FRESH-OUT-OF-THE-BOX SIGNED-BY-THE-AUTHOR COPY (some sellers on Amazon and Alibris are charging over $40 for a USED copy).

I’m posting the sale now so you will be able to order it in time for Valentine’s Day.  The SHARE THE LOVE BOGO EVENT will only be available, ON MY WEBSITE, by clicking on the PayPal button.  Don’t let this opportunity pass you by! 

I hope you’ve enjoyed the Nanny McPhee lessons…stop by tomorrow for the last lesson: HAVE FAITH!

The Grandma Chronicles: The Aborted Sleepover

Photograph of a Coney Island hot dog.

Image via Wikipedia

My grandmother was a very special lady.

She loved people and had an special place in her heart for children.

Every summer, each of her grandchildren was given the opportunity to spend two weeks with her in that warm and welcoming house on a tree-lined street in Brooklyn, New York.

When I was 4 years old, I pleaded to be allowed to go for my first sleepover.  Even though my parents didn’t think I was old enough, they relented and so I helped my mother pack my little suitcase, dreaming of all the fun things I would do with my grandmother during those two weeks.  Visits to the beach at Coney Island, hot dogs at Nathans, hours spent helping my grandmother bake and cook in her warm kitchen,  planting seeds in her wildly beautiful and fragrant backyard garden. 

Since all of my grandmother’s children and grandchildren visited her on Sundays, my family and I took the train from Manhattan to Brooklyn.  I sat in my seat, my little suitcase at my feet, and could hardly wait for the train to arrive at her station. 

After a fun-filled day of playing with my cousins, the house slowly emptied as my aunts and uncles and cousins left for their own homes and I bid farewell to my parents and older sister.  I enjoyed the next few hours, helping my grandmother wash and dry the dishes.  I played with her special box of costume jewelry that she kept just for little girls who love to wear sparkly things.  I helped her prepare our dinner. 

But, as evening approached, I began to feel very anxious and unhappy.

I wanted to go home to sleep in my own bed…in the room I shared with my sister.

Although my grandmother did try to encourage me to stay, she understood how I felt and did not try to pressure me or make light of my concerns.  She called my parents and my father came to get me…no easy task since he had to take the subway from Manhattan to Brooklyn and then do the trip in reverse to bring me home.  He had already made the trip back and forth earlier in the day.  And the next day was Monday and he would have to do it again to go to work.

But there were no recriminations or “I told you so” comments from either of my parents.

Do you have a child who suffers from separation anxiety?  Early on, young children form a very strong bond with their parents.  While we don’t want to ever break that bond, each child has their own unique ability to stretch it…some are able to do it sooner and some later. 

How can you help your children get to the point where they can watch you walk away and keep a smile on their faces and in their hearts?

Here are a few good tips that might help:

1.     Reassure your child you will always return.

2.     Keep your attitude positive and matter-of-fact.

3.     Treat your child’s concerns with respect.

4.     Offer stories of your own childhood experiences and feelings.

5.     Read picture book stories where the main character faces a similar problem, but succeeds in overcoming it. 

If you check out some of my past posts that address this issue, you will find some of those book suggestions and other tips that may help.




You can also find more picture book recommendations, gentle parenting tips and fun-filled educational activities in my new parenting book

I hope you’ve all enjoyed The Grandma Chronicles.  It was a wonderful experience for me, revisiting with my memories of a person who had a great impact on my early years…and in helping me to become the person I am today. 

Tomorrow I will start a new series based on The Lessons of Nanny McFee.  Have you seen the movie?  I just did and I was struck by her five lessons…I think each one has a place in every parent’s rulebook.

Help! Where Am I? I’m Lost!

A TTC subway train at Warden station.

Image via Wikipedia

It was a cold gray late afternoon in New York City. 

 I was on my way home from a student teaching assignment in an unfamiliar part of Brooklyn.  Leaving the school, I quickly walked to the subway station and boarded the train that would take me home.  As the train pulled away from the very next stop, I realized that the name of that station was not one I recognized.  Now I watched carefully as the train pulled into the next few stops.  More unfamiliar names!  A sick feeling formed in the pit of my stomach.  I had gotten on the wrong train! 

I must admit that I panicked.  I got off at the next stop.  Instead of finding a uniformed security person and asking which train I should board to return to the right route, I ran up the subway stairs, hailed the first cab that passed by, gave him my address and sat back, heart pounding. 

It was an expensive lesson…the cab ride cost me $10 and that was A LOT of money in those days…but I did get home safely, so I guess it was worth it.

Have you ever been lost?  Maybe there was a detour and you found yourself driving around and around, wondering which road to take.  Perhaps you went for a hike on a park trail and meandered off to look at some interesting rock formations or a bunch of wild flowers and now you are not sure which way to go to return to the main path.

Many young children also worry about getting lost or separated from those they love.  Although we want to encourage curiosity and independence, we are responsible for keeping our children safe from harm.  Teaching your child his name, address and phone number, and what to do in case he is ever lost is very important and will enable him to feel more confident about his own ability to deal with such a situation.  Reassure your child that you will always find him, no matter what…this will contribute to his feeling of safety.

You can also help children talk about their concerns by reading picture book stories that address the issue of getting lost.  While you read the story, a window of opportunity for discussion opens…so please take advantage of it.  Here’s one story suggestion on that topic:

ANGUS LOST written and illustrated by Marjorie Flack

This is a classic in children’s picture books.  The copyright date is 1931 and the illustrations hearken by to a bygone era.  That might be part of the charm of the story and you and your child can have a wonderful conversation about how milk was delivered in the olden days. J 

Angus, a little terrier, is bored with his home and yard and he decides to see what the world is like.  After several scary adventures, Angus wants very much to go home, but he cannot find his way.  He spends the night hiding in a cave, trembling in fear the entire time.  In the morning, he hears the familiar sound of the milkman’s horse and wagon and he eagerly follows them from house to house as the milkman makes his deliveries.  Finally, Angus recognizes his very own yard and is relieved to be home at last.

After you read the story and talk about it, perhaps you and your child would like to make some “real” butter. 


You will need: 1 cup heavy whipping cream, electric mixer and a large bowl.

1.     Pour the cream into the bowl and beat on medium until stiff peaks are formed (about 2-3 minutes).  This is REAL WHIPPED CREAM!!! 

2.     Continue beating (4-8 minutes) and you will see the curds separate from the whey.  You can sing “Little Miss Muffet” with your child while you are doing this and do the finger play later.

3.     Pour off the whey and you will be left with a lump of pure butter.

4.     Enjoy with crackers, bread or toast.

5.     Put the leftover butter in a covered container and store in the refrigerator.

6.     Instead of using the electric mixer, you could put the cream in a glass jar with a lid and shake…but this will take 5-30 minutes…and everyone’s hands will be tired.

Stop by tomorrow for another story suggestion and activity from my book.  And I’ll tell you about the time I spent SIX HOURS reading Little Women while my mother and half the staff of a major New York department store searched for me.