Age group: ages 4–8
When Addie Was Scared is based on a true story that Linda Bailey’s mother, Addie, tells of her own childhood growing up on a prairie farm in the 1930s. That real-life connection likely accounts for the book’s lack of a simple happy-ever-after resolution. Addie finds the courage to scare off the chicken hawk but that isn’t the end of her fears. She still jumps every time she hears a crackle in the bush and walks that extra mile to avoid the bull. But what Addie discovers is a core of inner strength that will allow her, with time, to conquer her fears.
When Addie Was Scared is illustrated by Wendy Bailey, Linda’s youngest sister. Unfortunately, the pictures are flat and rigid in comparison with the fluid emotional depth of the storyline. Most successful are the aerial perspectives, especially the series of dramatic images of Addie battling the chicken hawk.
Like Celia Lottridge’s Something Might Be Hiding, this book is a welcome addition to Canadian children’s literature dealing with childhood fears.