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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Cindy and Cristabelle's Big Scare: Book One of Lil' Steps Series is an educational animal storybook for children written by Lucy Sloan. Lil’ Steps Farm was a fine place for the animals and people lucky enough to be living there. The horses loved their green grassy areas; the sheep happily chewed their cuds, and Wilbert the Pig blissfully lounged in his mud puddle and breathed great, relaxing belly breaths. Cindy and Christabelle were the lone exceptions to the happiness and sense of well-being that was so evident at Lil’ Steps. They were fainting goats, you see, and they worried about everything. And when they were anxious or worried, they fainted. What did they worry about? Their lives were devoted to wondering “what if?” What if it was too hot or too cold? What if lions, bears, and coyotes came calling? Wilbert wanted to help his two fearful friends and invited them to watch the stars that night. Cindy and Christabelle figured there were just too many scary things that could happen at night, however, so they stayed home. Then something scary happened.
Cindy and Cristabelle's Big Scare takes a look at the fear, worries and general anxiety kids often experience in a compelling fable about two fearful goats who learn deep breathing and the art of relaxation from a very laid back and wise pig named Wilbert. As I read the story, I found myself deep breathing as well and marveled at how Lucy Sloan introduces deep breathing and relaxation techniques to children. The author also includes the Lil’ Steps Wellness Farm Activity Booklet, which was co-authored by Joanne Lariviere. This booklet is filled with useful information for parents and caregivers with children in their care whose lives are impacted by worry and fear. The booklet coaches adults on how to approach these issues as well as suggesting useful activities to share with kids that teach them how to handle stress and fear in productive ways. The story and booklet are well-presented and first-rate, and the illustrations are brilliant, especially those pictures of Cindy, Christabelle, and Wilbert. Cindy and Cristabelle's Big Scare: Book One of Lil' Steps Series is most highly recommended.