“Parker’s lively debut follows a neurodiverse child with heightened sensory experiences as she navigates her day. While eating breakfast, getting dressed, and playing at the park, the young protagonist explores her need to wiggle, tap, squeeze, stomp, and run, while her supportive mother works to help calm her. Before zipping around the kitchen, the unnamed narrator declares, “I get jitters down deep inside and it makes me want to run!” As the girl acclimates to the world around her, she discovers new techniques to relieve her jitters, including humming and running water. But when a sticky sandbox leads to sensory overload, she finds herself tested.
This is a lean, fast-paced, urgent tale with quick-moving prose. Rebecca Burgess’s illustrations are electric, complementing the high-speed storyline and finding a visual depiction of the sensations that accompany a heightened sensory experience. Sometimes, particularly in the sandbox scene, these images can become frightening–these portrayals of sensory overload may be scary for younger children. Most pages offer a lot of action, with some images achieving a balance between interesting and overwhelming, and others edging toward cluttered. For the most part, though, the illustrations are eye-catching, fresh, and emotionally engaging as they suggest the child’s experience. Squiggles, triangles, motion lines — she lives with a sensory cavalcade.
For a children’s book, Parker’s ideas are remarkably mature. None of the concepts are inappropriate for young audiences, but the lessons and values are as much for kids as for their parents. The sympathetic representation of the mother — who understands, encourages, and helps her daughter even through the most difficult of her urges — is a good reminder to parents who are raising neurodiverse children of the virtues of patience, calm, and sensitivity. Some of the story’s impact may be lost on toddler-age fans, but parents will find the message invaluable.
Takeaway: This fast-paced picture book is perfect for those looking to learn more about the daily experience of sensory differences.
Great for fans of: Jenn Bailey’s A Friend for Henry, Alicia Ortego’s Kindness is my Superpower.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A-”
5 stars. “This is a cute book and it’s good for kids who may feel a little overwhelmed sometimes. It’s nice for them to know that they aren’t alone and maybe they can find a strategy that helps them too. The illustrations were adorable and the rhyming was fun!”
– Anne Edester, NetGalley
5 stars. “This book provides great perspective into the mind of someone who has different sensory needs. I loved the explanations that are given in language kids can understand and the excellent illustration that is paired with the text.”
– Emilee Meeks, NetGalley
5 stars. “Wiggles, Stomps, and Squeezes Calm My Jitters Down by Lindsey Rowe Parker is the cutest picture book for children. I have a grandchild with autism he is 12. This book would be very helpful for any child children move quickly. The illustrations are great and colorful.”
– Dana Wright, NetGalley