Who’s been in our tree? by Diana Batchelor Review

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Reviewed by Katie Allen

What an interesting book!

The author, Diana Batchelor, is an experienced practitioner and researcher in the field of criminal justice and this children’s book was inspired by a request for a story from a young boy she was supporting in the wake of a burglary.

The story is about four friends, Badger, Fox, Squirrel and Hedgehog who live together and come home one day to discover they’ve been burgled. Each of them react to the trauma in different ways; Fox didn’t want to be by himself, Badger couldn’t sleep or concentrate at school, Hedgehog was angry all the time and Squirrel was very jumpy. Together they discuss their feelings and come up with plans of how to feel better.

The story simply describes these complex feelings in the wake of a trauma and helps make sense of them. The plans the characters come up with are easy to understand and realistic – they don’t all work straight away, and the story reinforces that some days are good and some bad.

After the story there are 10 pages with further ideas of how to talk more to your child about such an event with examples of questions to ask and activities to do together. There’s even a relaxation exercise “Do the Flippety Floppety Rabbit”.

Thankfully we’ve been lucky to not have experienced burglary, but our 4-year-old enjoyed the story and was able to understand how the friends felt. She even recognised that Squirrel was like Mr Jelly from the Mr Men series. The story is quite short (a picture book with 48 pages) but gives lots of scope to talk about feelings and fears which we enjoyed discussing together.

The book is attractively illustrated and pages are colourful, and despite its “therapy” theme is a good children’s book in its own right.

Rating: 5/5

RRP: £6.99 (paperback)

For more information or to buy visit www.whosbeeninourtree.com.

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