The Blurb On The Back:
New baby, new worries …
Jazmin’s mum is about to have a baby and Jaz is so excited! Ok, it might mean some changes to their family but Jaz is sure everything will be just fine.
So imagine her surprise when a host of furry, fretful friends arrive to cause serious mischief. That’s right, it’s the Worries – gloomy Loner, nervous Change, pushy Jealousy and DJ Disaster, always waiting for something to go wrong.
Jaz tries to keep her worries to herself, but with her birthday party coming up fast, they see, set on turning her into the Worst Sister EVER!
THE WORRIES: JAZ AND THE NEW BABY was released in the United Kingdom on 19th August 2021. Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.
The Review (Cut For Spoilers):
7-year-old Jazmin (known to everyone as Jaz) has two reasons to be excited: firstly, mum is about to have a new baby and Jaz is about to become a big sister! Secondly, it’s her birthday in 2 weeks time and she is planning a fabulous party for all of her friends.
But then the baby arrives early and Jaz’s mum and dad leave her with her grandmother to look after her. Now Jaz’s mum and dad are all about Jaz’s new sister Rosana (who cries all the time) and no one seems to be interested at all in Jaz or her birthday. So when Loner suddenly reappears in her life, it’s not really a surprise because her mum has already told her how to deal with the feelings that help bring him out. But then he brings new friends – Jealousy, Change and DJ Disaster – who always seem to be waiting for something else to go wrong, all the time wrecking havoc and breaking things and worse – no matter what Jaz does, they seem to be getting bigger …
The second in Jion Sheibani’s self-illustrated THE WORRIES series for readers aged 5+ is a light hearted look at the worries that children may encounter at this age as they go from being an only child to an older sibling. Although the Worries looked a little similar to each other, there are some good burp jokes and a truly disgusting baby sick scene that kids will love while also learning not to keep their worries inside.
I picked this up not realising that it was the second in the series. I don’t think that’s a problem – the first book seems to be more about Jaz’s friend Sohal and his Worries and while he does make an appearance in this book, it’s really Jaz’s story of her experiences.
I really liked Sheibani’s illustration style for this book – it’s kinda cartoony but it’s cleverly done in a way that young children will easily relate to them. Particularly good are the pictures of Rosana and I really liked a scene where she sicks up milk on Jaz, which captures the grossness but is also pretty funny.
The book is about Jaz’s worries as she deals with having a new sister, from being worried when she learns that because Rosana was born early she had a tube in her nose to then having deal with what it actually means to have to share her parents’ attention. Sheibani is very clever in how she shows the worries – loneliness, jealousy, fear of change and catastrophising all get dealt with but in a way that children won’t necessary. If I had a complaint, it’s that I thought Jealousy and Loner looked a bit too similar to each other so there were a couple of times when I had to double take to make sure I knew who was who.
Jaz is a character who I think many readers in the target age group would relate to as she’s into things like alien pets and skateboarding but also likes colouring and unicorns and tutu skirts. I particularly enjoyed the scenes with Sohal (who is the focus in the first book of the series) who has his own Worry called Hurt and understands what Jaz is dealing with. The scenes with her harassed parents (who are themselves struggling to deal with a new baby) are sensitively handled and when Jaz’s birthday party comes round, the way it devolves is a shown in a way that I think a lot of parents will be familiar with and also fit well with what we learn of Jaz.
All in all, I thought this was a light hearted but sensitive way of introducing young readers to books about feelings and anxieties that they may find themselves facing in a way that they should be able to understand but without being preachy. I’d be interested in checking out the first book in this series and I enjoyed Sheibani’s breezy, fun style such that I’d definitely check out what she writes/illustrates next.