Hector loves his home! It’s comfy, snuggly, and safe. But sometimes Hector relies on the safety of his home too much — he’s invited to play outside with his friends, but he worries about the potential problems he might encounter. Soon Hector realizes that his worries are keeping him from enjoying himself, so he needs to learn to be brave and try new things. Includes a “Note to Parents and Caregivers” about encouraging kids to step outside their comfort zones.
- Title: Hector’s Favorite Place
- Author/Illustrator: Jo Rooks
- Publisher: Magination Press
- ISBN: 1433828685
- Publication Date: August 13, 2018
- For Ages: 4-8
- Category: Picture Book
- Spooky-Scary or Spooky-Fun? 🎃 Fun.
I’d like to thank Magination Press for providing a free copy via Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review.
Hector’s Favorite Place is a sweet, gentle story about overcoming your anxiety and learning to cope with worry. Hector is an anxious hedgehog who prefers to stay safe at home rather than to go out with his friends and risk the dangers he may face in the outside world. When Hector realizes that his worries are keeping him from having fun, though, he decides to be brave and go out with his friends despite his anxiety. With adorable illustrations and a charming story, Jo Rooks works childhood coping mechanisms into a highly enjoyable tale about friendship and bravery.
Rooks’s delightful illustrations are filled with hilarious details, and Hector and his little bowtie are so endearing that readers will be hooked from the first image. Hector has several moments of self-doubt, even making up excuses so that he won’t have to go out with his friends, and each moment is a wonderful opportunity to stop and discuss what is going on and talk about how young readers may feel just as anxious as Hector at times. With the sweet, cute Hector as the main character, young readers will stay engaged and won’t feel as intimidated talking about topics as potentially scary as the things that worry them the most.
Hector also has moments of triumph where he works through his anxiety in a healthy way. Kids will love celebrating with Hector, which will make these excellent opportunities to talk to them about trying hard to push past their own worries and be brave themselves. The “Note to Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals” in the back of the book from a licensed psychologist is incredibly helpful and gives great concrete advice on how to discuss these issues.
I wish I had been able to read this book as a child. Not only would I have loved the story of a dancing, ice-skating, hot-chocolate-loving hedgehog, but I would have really benefited from a book that taught me in a relatable and entertaining way how to deal with the constant worries in my head.
I highly recommend this book to all parents, teachers, and librarians, not just to those who know that they’re dealing with anxious children. Take it from me — you won’t always know which of your kids are dealing with worrisome thoughts, because some of them are quite skilled at hiding them. And even if you’re not worried about…well, worry…then you still can’t go wrong with an adorable storybook with a hedgehog hero learning a wonderful lesson about being brave and believing in himself.
Hedgehog in a bowtie! I give this book 5 out of 5 coffins.