Tuesday, July 22, 2014

This One's a Keeper

Cover art copyright Magination Press

I Don’t Want to Talk About It

By Jeanie Franz Ransom
Magination Press/American Psychological Association
 Washington DC, 2000

Reviewed by Laura Harting

            This book, written for the preschool and early elementary aged child, describes the reactions of a young girl at the moment in time when her parents tell her that they are getting a divorce.  This little girl wants to run like a wild horse, be prickly like a porcupine, and gobble up both her parents like a crocodile, but she does not want to hear or talk about divorce. 
I Don’t Want to Talk About It is written from the young child’s perspective and it is written well.  Most children are very interested in animals and the author's description of feelings as animals is very concrete and child-focused.  The parents in this book continue to stay with the child, encouraging her to talk, even when she roars like a lion: “I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT!”   The parental consistency and ability to stay with the child through her emotional outburst is a good model for divorcing parents. 
This book is colorfully illustrated and the use of animal imagery allows for some emotional distance for the reader.  The focus on the animals draws the reader into the book with a desire to turn the page to see what animal this little girl will feel like next. 
At the end of the book is a note to parents from psychologist Phillip Stahl, with tips for parenting during divorce and what to expect regarding children’s feelings.  It is good and helpful advice for parents of young children.
I like this book, despite it being written 14 years ago.  It is not greatly affected by the passage of time because of the illustrations, and the focus on animals and feelings help the text remain relevant today. 
This book is a keeper, to be read with your young child many times over.

Laura Harting, LCSW, is a child and family therapist with a practice in Paoli, Pennsylvania.

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