Don’t Think About Purple Elephants is a charming book that tells the story of a little girl called Sophie. Sometimes Sophie worries, but not when she is busy with activities during the day, no. Sophie’s worries wait until she is lying in bed in the dark and quiet to start troubling her, robbing her of her sleep and leaving her very, very tired the next day. So, her family set about trying to find ways to help Sophie fall asleep and worry less. Will her mum’s suggestion to not thinking about purple elephants help?
With so many young children who worry, Susan Whelan’s picture book is utterly relevant. Don’t Think About Purple Elephants deals with the important issue of night-time anxiety with humour and warmth, and provides practical ideas for little worriers. Her prose is thoughtful, light-hearted and skilfully written.
Gwynneth Jones’ illustrations are delightfully imaginative. I loved the wonderful contrast between the vibrant, colourful pages of Sophie’s worry-free daytimes, and the night-time scenes in black and white with just a hint of colour, adding to the overall mood. These are pictures that will have not just children, but also adults poring over them, enjoying their comical detail and energetic expression.
With a strong message in mindfulness, this is a feel-good book that will be enjoyed just as much by the children being read to as by the adults doing the reading. I imagine that Don’t Think About Purple Elephants will become a bedtime favourite in many homes… and that purple elephants will not be thought about for a long time to come.