Wilma Jean the Worry Machine
by Julia Cook, illustrated by Anita Dufalla
Wilma Jean the Worry Machine is a story about a little girl, Wilma Jean, who just can’t stop worrying. What if she is asked to answer a question at the blackboard today? What if she gets it wrong? What if she doesn’t like her lunch? What if she is invited to her friend’s birthday party and there are no roller skates for her and she has to sit apart from the other kids? There are so many things for a school-aged kid to worry about!
The wonderful thing about this book is that the solution proposed to Wilma Jean by her teacher is a great strategy that kids at home can also use if they’re starting to worry too much. Wilma Jean’s teacher suggests that she itemise her worries into the worries she can control, and those she can’t. Then, for those she can’t, she has a special hat where she can put the thoughts back in her head.
Wilma Jean the Worry Machine is a lovely, gently humorous story about the way that worries can build up inside, and how others around us can be helpful in easing those worries. It’s also a great reminder that children can sometimes worry about things that parents don’t even imagine, and of the value of communication and reassurance in managing those worries.