Katie Careful and the Very Sad Smile (Therapeutic Parenting Books) ISBN: 9781785923043
Published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2017
What is wonderful about this series of books is that they have a dual purpose. They teach parents how to handle children with problems in a loving and non-judgemental way, and they are also good children's stories. Aimed at adopted and fostered children and their new parents, they show some of the common behavioural and physical problems that children who have suffered in the early years of their lives can exhibit. Each book has pages at the end to give parents advice on using the stories. In this one, we meet Katie Careful again, and this time she has moved into her 'forever parents' house with her four birth siblings, Rosie Rudey, William Wobbly, Sophie Spikey and Charlie Chatty - all stars of other books in this series. Katie has the peculiar habit of smiling all the time. She smiles when she is happy or sad or angry, and she desperately wants her new parents to love her. She follows mum everywhere, even to the toilet, banging on the door to let her know she is there. At the supermarket, she tells the check-out lady that she needs a new mum because her old one couldn't look after her. Mum and the checkout lady are both shocked, but mum understands that Katie is worried that mum doesn't see her when she is busy. At home, Katie is worried because she doesn't think tea is ready yet, and they always have it at 5.30. She stays with mum in the kitchen to be sure she knows what time it is. Mum is good at reading Katie's thoughts and explains that tea will be right on time. Children with this kind of anxiety need to have strict time schedules so that everything happens when it is supposed to. Mum is also very reassuring that Katie will always be with her family and her new parents, that she is their little girl now and always will be. Together they come up with a word they can use when life gets ultra busy and Katie starts to get wobbly feelings about mum forgetting her. Mum also says she will put her hand on Katie's shoulder, just to let her know that she has not been forgotten. In this busy family with five children, all of whom have special problems having to do with their early lives, life is always going to be a roller coaster, but with these books as guidelines and with very sensitive, mature parents to help them, the children will grow into responsible, happy adults. Written by the mum of five very similar adopted children, the books in the series will prove invaluable to those who must deal with kids with serious background difficulties. The pictures are wonderfully child-like and effective, full of grey and brown and simple soft colours, as well as solid-looking characters - very reassuring. Available from Amazon, from good book shops, and from the publisher: www.jkp.com.