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Book Reviews:\nThe Early Prevention Series   |    
The Bear Who Lost His Sleep: A Story About Worrying Too Much ? The Penguin Who Lost Her Cool: A Story About Controlling Your Anger ? The Lion Who Lost His Roar: A Story About Facing Your Fears ? The Hyena Who Lost Her Laugh: A Story About Changing Your Negative Thinking
Tootsie Sobkiewicz, L.C.S.W.
Psychiatric Services 2003; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.54.6.912
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by Jessica Lamb-Shapiro; Plainview, New York, Childswork/Childsplay LLC, 2000, 53 pages, $19.95 softcover • by Marla Sobel; Plainview, New York, Childswork/Childsplay LLC, 2000, 59 pages, $19.95 softcover • by Marcia Shoshana Nass; Plainview, New York, Childswork/Childsplay LLC, 2000, 53 pages, $19.95 softcover • by Jessica Lamb-Shapiro; Plainview, New York, Childswork/Childsplay LLC, 2000, 53 pages, $19.95 softcover

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Each of the four books reviewed here tells the story of an animal that loses the very thing it is known for and—by receiving simple, direct advice—regains it. These books, which constitute the Childswork/ Childsplay "Early Prevention Series," are designed to help young children learn about common emotional problems—worry, anger, fear, and negative thinking—while offering choices and logical consequences to life circumstances in which children may easily find themselves. The series is accompanied by four small plush dolls—a bear, a penguin, a lion, and a hyena—to further assist in opening communication with children.

In The Bear Who Lost His Sleep, Benjamin the Bear has both a "worry bear" and a "reasoning bear" inside his head. He learns that when he is worried, he can stop worrying by reasoning with himself. Benjamin's story can teach children that just as a mind can create problems, it can also create solutions to problems.

In The Penguin Who Lost Her Cool, Penelope the Penguin teaches young readers that there are consequences to angry outbursts. Her story teaches children that they can control their tempers with a variety of techniques, such as counting to ten, singing a song, and using positive self-talk.

In The Lion Who Lost His Roar, King Louie the Lion proves to children that even a brave lion has things that make him fearful. He shows children that everyone is afraid of something at some time and offers easily comprehensible ways of handling fear.

The final book in the series is The Hyena Who Lost Her Laugh, in which Hillary the Hyena tells young readers that when she is more optimistic and realistic in her thinking, she feels better and has more success. Her story teaches children the power and rewards of positive thinking.

These storybooks are a product of the authors' research showing that many common psychological problems can be prevented if children are introduced to specific emotional, social, and behavioral skills when they are young. The books are essentially clinical tools that can allow children both to learn new skills and to build on their newly learned skills. In each book, children are repeatedly encouraged to practice their problem-solving skills. The books mirror the development of a positive self-image, which is crucial for children.

The fact that each book is accompanied by a plush toy makes these books a very powerful tool, because children often assign magical powers to their toys. The combination of the storybook and the leading-character toy helps children to relate to the problems described in the book. The toys also provide comfort and reassurance and are especially useful in one-on-one settings. They allow for creative role playing, which is one of the best ways for young children to learn.

The "Early Prevention Series" can be used in a variety of settings by parents, teachers, and mental health professionals, all of whom are in a position to help children and earnestly search for ways to do just that. The lessons taught in each storybook are invaluable. Benjamin, Penelope, King Louie, and Hillary should be welcome guests in any home, classroom, or mental health agency.

Ms. Sobkiewicz is chief social worker and program coordinator at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and author of Our Special Mom and Our Special Dad.

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