"I'm a writer living in the Perth Hills with my relentlessly fun seeking children.
Published February 20th 2017
Every cloud has a silver lining
Do you know Mr Huff? I bet you do. Everyone has spent a day with Mr Huff. He's the bad day that just keeps getting worse, the negative attitude you just can't shake off and he visits children too.This book has been a firm favourite with my family and it has an important message for everyone, So if you don't know Mr Huff, I need to introduce you.
Mr Huff (Pic Penguin Books website)
Anna Walker is the author and illustrator behind Mr Huff. A charming and sensitive picture book for children, with a lot to say about dealing with sadness and anxiety.
When Bill wakes up he notices a grey cloud outside his window, but not the one over his head. Then everything starts to go wrong for him. It's small things at first, the lost socks, a bowl of soggy cereal, but soon the cloud of unhappiness above him is growing and it's sitting heavily upon his shoulders. Bill tries everything he can think of to shake off Mr Huff, but it follows him to School and threatens to unravel his whole world. He tries to speak of his sad feelings, but the words just don't come out. It is only when he sees himself reflected in Mr Huff's tears, that he understands he has some power over his emotions. Bill begins to notice the world around him and change his perceptions. He finally realises he can turn his mood around and change his life from ominous clouds to potential rays of sunshine.
A bad day for Bill
This is an important book for children. Anna Walker recognises that everyone can be vulnerable to a bad day. Children are often expected to be happy all the time, something even most adults can't achieve. We need to acknowledge that negative thoughts and feeling anxious are a normal part of being human. The sooner we talk about mental health and self-esteem with our kids the better, but we have to do so in a way that is positive and helpful.
Mr Huff is a book that makes these conversations easy, whilst being appealing and funny. The illustrations are a lovely mix of pencil drawing, collage and watercolour. The expressions are wonderfully captured and Mr Huff is as lovely an antagonist as you could find. My seven year old really loves him and it is always a book she turns to when things don't quite work out to plan.