Great Read Aloud on an Important TopicJitterbug, the chipmunk, wakes up anxious and determined to discover what has changed in her idyllic forest home. As she visits friends, discovers The Someone New, and hears his story, the reader gets a peek into the chipmunk’s worries. I admire the decision to give the reader so much insight into the Jitterbug’s anxiety. The ever-escalating “quiver in her tummy,” along with EG Keller’s brilliantly expressive illustrations, make it easy to relate to Jitterbug’s very real struggle. What a great opportunity to talk about the importance of listening to and examining feelings, with an awareness that fear sometimes hijacks logical thinking.
Great picture books tell important stories to people of all ages. Young children will immediately recognize The Someone New as their new classmate. Older children might imagine The Someone New as a new classmate, but also a new family member or teacher. Others will reflect on The Someone New and think of someone who is new to our country, seeking a better, safer life. No matter the age, the ideal that “kindness is stronger than fear,” is one we can all aspire to.