The Chill Out Chair series
Review by Anna Mowat, who works as part of the All Right? wellbeing campaign in Otautahi
Josephine Carson Barr, Illustrated by Simon Barr (2017, 2013), Veritas Aotearoa Publishing
What a pleasure it has been reading these books with my near-four year-old. The pictures are ‘alive’ and reflect a typical day in New Zealand for many parents and children.
I particularly loved The Chill Out Chair because it does so many great things – it normalises feeling angry or being sent to ‘calm down’, and it gave me and my daughter some ideas to help us through these trying times. The story also highlighted the use of imagination to emotionally regulate and pass the time.
The use of Te Reo Māori in the story means “Kia tau,” has also entered our family vocabulary – thank you Barr whānau!
Speaking of whānau, The Chair series books are written and illustrated by Josephine Carson Barr and Simon Barr, a mother-son team. Josephine was inspired to write the book by her grandchildren. The family/whānau is evident throughout the books, giving them a comforting, familiar feeling.
The Goodbye Chair was less relevant for us, but still enjoyable. I will certainly be recommending it as a ‘reading book’ at preschools and for new entrants teachers. The idea of The Goodbye Chair is excellent to help tamariki and parents/whānau transition away from one another.
I highly recommend The Chair series. My daughter and I had a great time reading them – we learned heaps, laughed and talked about the big emotions and how to manage them.