The Power of Piggie Bear

Mara James
Brown Books Kids (2021)
ISBN: 978-1-61254-502-8
Reviewed by Rachel Dehning (w/ Lydia (age 7) for Reader Views (02/2022)

“The Power of Piggie Bear” is a powerful story for readers of all ages. There is good information within the pages of coping skills to be used as a tool for prevention and during the moment of feeling less than great about yourself. The main character, Piggie Bear, begins by talking about itself and playing little games with the reader, enticing them to find it in the midst of other stuffed animals. Piggie Bear interacts with its readers by introducing different emotions and having the reader respond to its questions and identify their own emotions. Piggie Bear stresses that even though it looks like both a pig and a bear, it doesn’t matter what it looks like, and that’s how the reader(s) should feel as well (amazing)!

Positive affirmations are taught for the reader to use on a daily basis. Piggie Bear doesn’t keep it all hearts and rainbows but comes back to earth and mentions the negative emotions it feels, too, such as anger, worry, and frustration; followed by a lesson on deep belly-breathing to be used before, during, and after a negative situation. Other negative emotions are mentioned, such as sadness, loneliness, and being scared, followed by a different positive coping skill: a Piggie Bear hug! The coping skills of belly-breathing and self-hugging are accompanied by step-by-step instructions to ensure success and happy readers all around!

Having an affiliation with the mental health field, with both kids and adults, “The Power of Piggie Bear” is appropriate and more-than-useful for both audiences. The comprehension level of the story is child-like, but not immature for an older reader. The illustrations are happy, exciting, calming, and colorful, everything needed to keep the reader turning pages. The author is genuine as both a person and storyteller and has the experience and expertise to support the message portrayed in the story. I hope to see more of Piggie Bear in people’s lives.

Note from Lydia (age 7): I liked reading this story because it was a positive and happy one. I read it to my brother, but when my mom read it to me, I responded more to Piggie Bear’s questions. I have felt everything that Piggie Bear talks about at some time in my life, but didn’t know a great way of dealing with the emotions it mentions. I can’t figure out the belly-breathing yet, even though it looks easy, it’s not for me yet. I can do the Piggie Bear hug and might try that sometime when I’m not feeling right. Piggie Bear looks calm in the story and is easy to read; kids of any age can understand what it is talking about. Piggie Bear reminds me of another stuffed animal that I like to read about too – Cuddle Bear; the only difference is that Cuddle Bear is mostly about hugging and making people feel good with hugs, and Piggie Bear teaches you things to do when you’re not feeling good to feel better, including giving yourself a hug.

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