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Not Today, Celeste!
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A gentle story about a dog whose human has poorly feelings, for children aged 3+

About the Author

Liza Stevens has an MA in Children's Book Illustration from the Cambridge School of Art, UK. She is a foster carer and has an interest in child development, including mental health and attachment disorders. She lives in East Sussex, UK.

Reviews

The goal of this story is to explain to kids what depression is, and to give them tools to deal with it. It's written in a way which encourage questions, and gives opportunities for the kids to express how they feel and what they think. The text is easy to understand, with pretty illustrations... I really liked this book, and highly recommend it! -- Reviews in Chalk blog
Wow, this was a great book, perfect for children who have a parent, or someone in the family, who is dealing with depression. This book does a great job on showing the signs, and also shows what one can do about it, or how one can help. -- Twirling Book Princess blog
Not Today Celeste: A Dog's Tale about Her Human's Depression can be a great tool for helping young children understand what depression is, and cope with times when someone they love is suffering from it. The illustrations are charming and offer soothing colors and some smile worthy moments... -- Sharon the Librarian blog
PreS-Gr 2-A canine's perspective on her owner's depression sparks dialogue about mental illness in this picture book import. Celeste is a happy dog who loves her human, Rupert. The young man provides her with everything she could want, from treats and cuddles to walks and plenty of playtime. Then one day, 'something different' comes over Rupert, keeping him from enjoying his time with Celeste and even getting in the way of his ability to care for her. Celeste seeks out a neighbor, who approaches Rupert about getting help. Stevens's use of a pet as a stand-in for a child's experience works reasonably well-Celeste's inability to understand Rupert's problem mirrors a child's distance from the adult world, and it is the humans (adults) who take responsibility for addressing Rupert's illness. Readers see Rupert attending a support group, but the text focuses on Celeste's joy in returning to her routine with the owner she adores. Throughout, the author underscores the importance of understanding and naming emotions and implies that solutions for mental illness are adult concerns. Cartoon illustrations use plenty of white space to spotlight tender moments between Celeste and Rupert, and varied font sizes highlight emotional vocabulary. Rupert changes from full color to gray when he begins to feel depressed, and while his color has returned by the end, the text makes it clear that his depression hasn't gone away entirely. An extensive note written by a mental health specialist offers guidelines for sharing the book with young children and suggests ways to continue the conversation. Occasional Briticisms may sound odd to American ears but won't detract from the story. VERDICT A solid starting point for talking about mental illness, but adults should be prepared to clarify and deepen the discussion. -- School Library Journal
In itself this is a moving story; but it also presents the tricky topic of depression and how it affects others in a way (with dog as storyteller) that allows children to think about the subject matter through a narrative distancing device. All in all, a thoroughly useful book, delightfully illustrated and subtly conveyed in both words and pictures. -- Red Reading Hub, Jillrbennet's Reviews of Children's Books
The delicate watercolour illustrations are a perfect match to the perceptive text. There are few stories about depression for the very young, and this is an outstanding production. -- Healthy Books

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