Themes/Topics: Coping with loss, anger, fear, anxiety, friendship
Brief Synopsis: Isabel, who wears a parrot on her head, has a best friend named Simon who moves away. At first she hates everything and is able to cope by sorting and labeling her things into cardboard boxes. Except she and her parrot worry about the box of wolves, especially what to do with one big wolf. Until she finds a big box. And inside that box is a boy named Chester who helps her deal with the wolf.
“Once there was a girl with a parrot on her head. Her name was Isabel, and she had a friend named Simon, who was very good with newts.
But one day Simon went away in a truck and never came back.”
Why I like this book: This story addresses the range of emotions kids experience when coping with loss, anger, fear, and anxiety in a unique way. The use of symbolism for anxiety and fear using boxes and wolves may be quirky, but effective. The illustrations cleverly show time through the seasons demonstrating coping while finding a solution to a problem takes time. Kids learn about different difficult feelings they may encounter when disappointed or hurt by the loss of a friend, but also that those feelings don’t always last. In the end, new friendships do come along.