By: Lucinda Grapenthin
Illustrated by: Kevin Gasselin
Publisher: Dr. Cindy Publishing
Publication Date: August 2021
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Review Date: August 18, 2022
Toby is a cute little octopus who wants to go ride his bike and play with his friends. But he has a problem – he worries about so many things. Will his mother, father, and friends be able to help him conquer his fears and finally have fun on his bike?
Toby was hanging around the front porch of his house when his friends Zeke and Logan came zooming by on their bikes. They happily asked Toby to join in the fun but Toby was afraid and tightly clung to the porch as his mind started to panic. “What if I can’t ride my bike?” “What if I fall?” What if they laugh at me?” There were so many things that could go wrong and Toby couldn't get all those “What ifs” out of his mind.
Sad and feeling defeated, Toby headed into the house, plopped down on the sofa and played video games. He wanted his mom and called out to her, but she was busy putting away clothes. The little octopus was so full of worry that when he tried to get up to go find her, he stumbled over his tightly wound tentacles. What could he do?
When Toby’s mom sees her son, she immediately knows that something is wrong. She asks her son and he admits that, “I’m afraid to ride my bike with my friends...all I think about is falling and my friends laughing.” His mother carefully explains that he needs to use his “can do thoughts” and reminds Toby of the time he was afraid to climb up a slide. By using his can do thoughts he was able to conquer his fear and climb up and go down the slide. Would Toby be able to use his “can do thoughts” to learn to have fun with his friends and ride his bike without worry?
Toby, Toby, Worry Free is a fun and educational book that tackles issues common to so many children, such as the fear of failure, the fear of being mocked by friends, and the fear of getting hurt. Young readers will easily identify with Toby, a sweet character who finds himself in situations that they too, are likely to encounter. The author has also included things that parents will identify with such as when Toby is starting to feel better and then his big sisters remind him of the possibility of failure. It’s the sort of thing many older siblings would say and I suspect parents will see their family dynamics in Toby’s family. At the back of the book is a reference page with a thorough explanation of “The PAUSE Approach,” a method to help parents and caregivers deal with challenging behaviors. The author of Toby, Toby, Worry Free is a licensed psychologist and educator with over twenty years of working with children and families. Her extensive experience shines through in this, her debut novel. Toby, Toby, Worry Free does a great job of gently guiding children and their caregivers through some of the turbulent behaviors youngsters encounter.
Quill says: Toby, Toby, Worry Free is an excellent resource for parents to share with their children to help them overcome their own daily fears.