Not Today, Celeste!

A Dog's Tale about Her Human's Depression

Celeste thinks she is the happiest dog in the world. But when she notices something different about her human, Rupert, she wonders if things will ever be the same again.

Charmingly illustrated, this heart-warming story for children aged 3+ reflects some of the feelings and experiences that a child whose parent or carer has depression may face. When it comes to periods of low mood in a parent or carer, children can often feel that they are to blame, or even that the parent doesn't love them anymore. The story provides reassurance by explaining what depression is and how it is possible to find help. With a comprehensive guide for parents and professionals written by Dr Pooky Knightsmith that provides advice on discussing the topic with children, this is a truly valuable resource that will be of interest to social workers, child and school counsellors, psychologists, parents and foster parents.
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Press reviews for: Not Today, Celeste!

Reviews in Chalk blog

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!

Twirling Book Princess 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.

Sharon the Librarian 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...

School Library Journal

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.

Red Reading Hub, Jillrbennet's Reviews of Children's Books

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.

Healthy 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.

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