REVIEW: Cleo the Crocodile: An Activity Book for Children Who Are Afraid to Get Close

Having previously reviewed therapeutic cards and books from Dr Karen Treisman (a specialist clinical psychologist), I was looking forward to reading one of her latest publications: Cleo the Crocodile, which is an activity book for children who are afraid to get close. The book is a therapeutic story with creative activities about trust, anger and relationships for children aged 5-10. The book is beautifully illustrated and follows the story of Cleo who has to leave his swamp after Hogan the Hippo starts being mean to him. Cleo has to find a new safe home and he has to work out who he can trust while he is trying to make new friends.

Following the story are lots of activities and crafts and the pages are photocopiable so that they can be done again. Activities include thinking about feelings and how to cope and regulate them, there are various ways of encouraging this and this is great as all children have different ways of expressing themselves and this book will help you find the ones that suit the child best. There is a ‘Guide for Adults’ at the end of the book but you are encouraged to read this first, before trying out the activities with your child. It very clearly explains how to use the book in order to make the most of it as well as giving advice and explaining childhood behaviour as many adults struggle to understand why certain behaviours are being displayed.

With over 150 pages, Cleo the Crocodile is a fantastic tool for parents, carers or professionals supporting children with emotional needs. The activities are well thought out and presented and each one has the aim of finding something out that your child finds it hard to communicate, such as what makes them anxious or how they feel if someone is mean to them.

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