Dare to Be Daring

Abrams. Jul. 2024. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781419760679.
K-Gr 3–Everyone has hesitations and fears that prevent them from doing what they really want to do. Wallace has a fear of spiders, and in this book tackles some of the things young children fear. “Today, I will dare to be daring when I get to the playground to play. My eyes will not peek, but I’ll certainly shriek in a will-I-come-down sort of way.” The “dare to be daring” catchphrase acts to coax the child, here with light brown skin and wearing a worried look, into taking a risk. Every scene teaches that it’s okay to make mistakes, to fail, to give up. Stage fright, fear of throwing oneself into the dodgeball game, or the frightful scene of a dark basement steps are all here as in the first person, “I will dare to be daring” is repeated right before the facing of the obstacle. Cho’s colorful and engaging illustrations are an excellent complement to Wallace’s use of repetition, rhythm, and rhyme to walk young children through the most common things that they fear.
VERDICT The creators have come up with an excellent book for caregivers and children who are struggling with their fears, for discussion or as a guide to pushing through.

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