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The Storybarn Selects… From The Reader Bookshelf

Written by Lily Kehoe, 8th June 2023

Our exploration of this year's Reader Bookshelf is well underway and we've asked another member of our Children & Young People Team to talk about their favourite children's book from the collection.

This week, Reading Heroes Coordinator, Chris Jenkins, shares his thoughts on Almost Anywhere by Sophy Henn.

Where Bear? by Sophy Henn is a big favourite in our house at bedtime so I was excited to read Sophy’s other book Almost Anything – a story about George, an unsure rabbit lacking in confidence and gumption.

The story takes place in a forest full of dancing hedgehogs, roller skating beavers, otters that paint and badgers that play skittles. Who wouldn’t want to spend time in this forest?! Well, George actually. It all proves too much for him to see everyone having fun with such merriment and abandon when he is scuppered by worry about his own abilities. That’s when he meets a wise bear that gifts him with a ‘magic’ hat.

The story reminded me of a couple of experiences in my childhood and made me realise that as adults we can be quite blasé about things that would seem pretty daunting to a kid. The simple nature of this story, combined with its clear storytelling, makes for a story I will tell to my little one when he inevitably meets his own inner-saboteur that human nature has in store.

Plus there was even a slight mini-twist in the story that I enjoyed when the hat came off. I was expecting a kind of ‘fake it till you make it’ lesson but the message was refreshingly deeper and more truthful than that. Read it and you will also be doing almost anything.

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