Sticky Icky Vicky - Courage over Fear by Alysia & Michael Ssentamu, Illustrated by Noor Alshalabi

This is the tale of a little girl who has a big fear of water. When Vicky was younger, she had a negative experience in the sea, which impacted on her desire to be anywhere near water from then on. She earns the name 'Sticky Icky Vicky,' because of her love of getting so involved in her games and play time, where she gets super grubby; her problem is that she doesn't want to wash afterwards.

Her mother tries to encourage her to have a bath, but to no avail, with Sticky Icky Vicky finding excuses why she can't possibly have a bath. The illustrations by Noor Alshalabi demonstrate well, the mess that this little girl gets herself into, without losing the fun that she has whilst doing it. The story goes on to explain exactly why Vicky is so afraid of the water, using beautiful pastel colours when showing scenes of the beach.

Sticky Icky Vicky experiences a pessimistic inner voice, Negative Ned, who prevents her from trying or enjoying new things, based on her past experiences. You could argue that this is the equivalent to the characters 'Disgust' or 'Fear' in Disney Pixar's 'Inside Out', who's job is to keep Riley safe, but in doing so, without the balance of Joy, prevents her from doing anything at all.

Vicky watches her friends play in the water, and wants to join in, but Negative Ned convinces her that she is incapable of being in the water for fear of drowning. This causes upset and ultimately leads to her fears coming to a head, when she is invited to a birthday party at a waterpark.

Despite her inner voice's best efforts, Vicky decides that she's going to be brave and attend the party. Her dad reassures her that her friends will be there to support her too, but Vicky is anxious. With one last ditch attempt to put her off, Negative Ned appears once more, but this time, Vicky isn't listening. Once in the pool, Vicky's fears dissipate, and she begins to enjoy being in the water.

Vicky has a new inner voice now, Positive Ted, This voice tells her that she can do things and that she is good enough. With this new positive self-talk, Vicky is icky and sticky no more. Alysia and Michael Ssentamu use rhyming sentences throughout, to tell children that if you believe in yourself, you can do anything. With sweet, simple pictures to accompany the story, and a message to 'BELIEVE IN YOURSELF,' the authors convey a wonderful, important subject.

At the end, there are some statements and questions about how to address worries and fears, to reiterate the message of the book, which is a nice addition to the book.

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