Gold, Chaim. Nick and Panicky Rabbit – How to Conquer Panic. Book Review.

This book is published by Educational Knowledge Resources and is part of a series on teaching kids feelings and emotions. As this is not a book for entertainment or reading pleasure, this book review will discuss the text in relation to its proposed purpose.

At school, the teacher discusses disaster preparation. They have a practice fire drill and the teacher tells them, “the important thing is that you should never panic. Once you panic, you are no longer able to think clearly.” Before she can explain what the word panic means, the school bell rings. On the bus on the way home, Nick dreams that he is approached by a rabbit who is in a panic. The rabbit has left a candle burning in his home and is sure his house is on fire, together, they check through the window and see that the candle was snuffed out before the rabbit left. Nick wakes up, exits the bus, and finds a bunch of carrots by his front door.

In this story, the body’s reaction to panic is explained. Nick learns to close his eyes for a few seconds and take deep breaths to calm himself. When he and the rabbit discover that the house was not on fire after all, they reiterate that “once you panic, you can no longer think clearly.”

This book would be best used by a parent helping a child to cope with strong emotion, or classroom teacher explaining how to handle an emergency situation. I would’ve liked a little more explanation on how to control panic. Some of the text could have been trimmed down. For example, we didn’t need to know that Nick lived in a small town and was a very smart boy. I was also surprised to see that a book published in 2013 used the sexist term “firemen”.

The illustrations were bright and cute, much like a Disney book. It took me a moment to understand that the rabbit turning from gray to pink was meant to represent embarrassment. A stronger use of humor would have made the story more palatable.

This book could be a useful addition to a discussion when dealing with panic. Recommended.