Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears- Emily Gravett

Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears

by Emily Gravett


Winner of Kate Greenaway Children’s Book – award 2008

Kate Greenaway Children's Book Award 2008

Kate Greenaway Children’s Book Award 2008

Everyone is scared of something. Living with fear can make even the bravest person feel small…..  Remember! A Fear Faced is a FEAR defeated.

This unique picture book is powerful in it’s simplicity.  Emily Gravett-  presents an endearing main character- a cute white rat, who finds herself in variety of perilous conditions-  in a collage style,  scrapbooked journal.  Each page sets forth a different phobia :

  • Clinophobia (Fear of going to bed)
  • Tetraphobia (Fear of monsters)
  • Rupophobia (Fear of dirt)

Some children are more anxious than others.  Anxiety can have many unfortunate sequelae-  obsessive compulsive behaviour,  shyness, and inhibition of performance, in academics or  in sports.   It is known that worry often leads to more worry.  The cycle of increasing anxiety and depression can spin out of control.  A useful technique to stem this trend,  is to take time to observe, and then  write a detailed list  of  what one is actually afraid of.   As part of this process- one often finds that one’s perceived fears are  irrational, or so remotely impossible- the effort it takes to worry about them are all a waste of time.

So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and of vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. And I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.

This famous quote is taken from Franklin D. Roosevelt’s inauguration to become President of the United States of America on March 4, 1933 which was in the midst of the countries Great Depression.  Roosevelt- takes hold of the idea that fear or worry can be paralysing in it’s intensity and the importance of breaking free of these damaging thought patterns are necessary for social growth.

Emily Gravett  cleverly labels out fears which are common to many children.

Ablutophobia (Fear of bathing)

Ablutophobia (Fear of bathing)

The fear of bathing- Ablutophobia is addressed by a childhood favorite of mine-  Mr. Rogers.  His television show, was my grandmother’s old stand by,  for when I would stay at her home.   Listening to it now is very nostalgic for me.  I was reminded of his classic song ” You can never go down the drain”  shown here on youtube.imgres-1

You can never go down
Can never go down
Can never go down the drain.
You can never go down
Can never go down
Can never go down the drain.
You’re bigger than the water,
You’re bigger than the soap,
You’re much bigger than all the bubbles
And bigger than your telescope, so you see…

Fred Rogers, 1968

The premise of his children’s show, Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, was to help children to overcome obstacles, of negative thinking and fears,  through presenting role plays of positive approaches to overcoming these hurdles,  using puppets.

The bright illustrations  of this book, combine pencil drawings and 3 dimensional objects such as postcards and maps- give this book an interactive appeal.   This acts to draw readers into the experience of journaling- an invitation to create and heal.

Ailurophobia (Fear of Cats)

Ailurophobia (Fear of Cats)

“and I’m petrified of cats”

This book is a lot of fun and particularly appropriate for children age 6 and above.


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