Review: STOP Max!

The first in a series aimed at helping children to manage their emotions and mental health, STOP Max! tells the story of a little rat battling big feelings, and uses the narrative to introduce young readers to some important life skills.

Its Highland-based author, Den Keanie, won last year’s ‘Fi and Books become-an-author’ competition with the concept – and this is the accomplished result.

Max is excited about going to the park to see his friends and show them his new helicopter, but that excitement turns to frustration when things don’t go to plan. When he takes a dangerous risk, his mum steps in, and together they must figure out how Max should respond next.

The picture book is produced in association with The Decider, a life skills programme, and is packed with strategies to help young people work through intense situations. It introduces STOPP (the S stands for Stop and take a step back) to help users pause and put their situation in perspective, and the Fizz scale, for assessing the strength of emotions.

We felt a connection with Max from the start, especially through Terry Castellani’s endearing illustrations, and the lessons woven into the story resonated because of this.

This is just the first in the Resilient Ratties series, so look out for more problem-solving and stories featuring Max and his little sister Lucy, soon.

STOP Max: Part of the Resilient Ratties Series, by Den Keanie, ill’ Terry Castellani (Fi and Books)

Click the link to find out more about the Resilient Ratties project.

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