The Worrysaurus

Written by Rachel Bright
Illustrated by Chris Chatterton
32 pages  •  Published 2020 (Orchard Books)
Book cover
Recommended Age Range: Preschool through 1st grade.
Publisher's Summary: It’s a beautiful day and Worrysaurus has planned a special picnic. But it isn’t long before a small butterfly of worry starts fluttering in his tummy . . . What if he hasn’t brought enough to eat? What if he gets lost in the jungle? What if he trips and falls? What if it rains?! Can Worrysaurus find a way to chase his fears away and have fun? The perfect book to help every anxious little dinosaur let go of their fears and feel happy in the moment.
Book cover

Dr. Annie's Takeaways

Recommended for: Great for a kid whose days are often ruined by worry. It’s cute and non-threatening, and has a relatable dinosaur protagonist. Worrysaurus promotes insight into the way that worry ruins days (by making bad outcomes seem more likely or real than they probably are), encourages the creation of a coping box of favorite items to help a child to feel better when they’re worried, and gently introduces the idea that focusing on the present is an antidote to worries about the future.
Would a child like it? There’s a cuteness to this book (the pictures, the rhyming verse) that is appealing. It has just enough emotional depth to have some authenticity without being too dark or intense. A kid who identifies with Worrysaurus would probably like this story.
Evidence-Based Practices: Self-soothing, Mindfulness
Tone: Sweet, reassuring, upbeat
Story Quality: Written in rhyming verse, Worrysaurus is the story of a little dinosaur with a lot of worries who learns the value of living in the moment rather than planning for bad things that could happen. The story is pretty cute and a non-threatening introduction to this concept. The rhyming verse adds charm and mostly flows well.
Illustrations: Very adorable, brightly-colored illustrations that add a lot of warmth to the story.
Representation: Worrysaurus is a male dinosaur (he/him pronouns are used, but there is nothing else gendered about him). He has a mother dinosaur and a lizard friend.
Psychological Practices: This story introduces the idea of a coping box that children can use when they are feeling anxious or worried. Worrysaurus has in his coping box a stuffed toy, a letter, a special stick, and a pebble. These items help Worrysaurus to feel better and realize that he can be strong and remember that “all is good and all is well” despite his fears. It includes a bit of positive self-talk and ends with a reminder: “when the sun is shining, why worry about the rain.” The ending touches a bit on a principle of mindfulness–that focusing on the present is a way to enjoy the here-and-now without letting worry thoughts sweep us away.
Concerns: Worrysaurus’s mom says to him “Don’t you worry now, my lovely, you must try not to fret,” which just isn’t helpful and, in fact, can cause children to feel shame for having worries or feel pressured to keep their worries to themselves.

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