A delightful dachshund called Charlie is the star of a lovely new picture book published in hardback earlier last week by Old Barn Books, written and illustrated by Terry Milne, who was born and raised in South Africa. She has illustrated books with authors including Martin Waddell and Vivian French. Her daughter’s struggles with anxiety and repetitive behaviour led Terry to write and illustrate this story as a reassurance to children everywhere who might experience the same struggles.
“Charlie did everything the same, every day. He was afraid something terrible would happen if he didn’t.” When an emergency disrupts his routine, anxious Charlie discovers that change can be a good thing and open the way to something wonderful!
Charlie Star is a lovely story about a dachshund with a difference – he is a very anxious dog! On reading his story, you immediately want to pick him up and comfort him and reassure him everything is okay- even whilst he’s busy lining up his toys and doing tricks as part of his daily rituals.
Charlie is frightened that if he doesn’t do these things, everything will go wrong and like many people, uses these routines to keep his anxiety at bay. A simple narrative, accompanied by lively illustrations brings to life all of Charlie’s habits. As you would expect, life has a way of reminding us we are not in control and when Charlie’s friend gets stuck, even he has to be brave, forget his routines and join the rescue.
This is a really gentle story highlighting the way anxiety can take over, but also cleverly shows that change is not as scary as we think and in fact, can lead to wonderful things.
With a lovely ending highlighting the value of friendship, Charlie Star is a sweet story which is sure to be a hit with young readers. It would also work really well as a story to encourage discussion of anxiety and the issues around it.
Find out more at Old Barn Books.
With thanks to Old Barn for sending me a copy of this book to review.