With a child in kindergarten learning in leaps and bounds, I’m always on the lookout for current and interesting subject matter when it comes to reading time. Jumping on an opportunity to review writer William Reimer’s book, “A Ferret Named Phil”, at first glance, my attention is captured by the glossy hard cover with a dreamy illustration of Phil the ferret on front.
An opening message penned from the author himself sparks your attention to the topic of bullying and turning the pages with curiosity, I’m wondering how the story will pan out.
‘There once was a ferret, a ferret named Phil’. A catchy rhyme engages you instantly and audience of kindergarten students were equally mesmerized by the full page illustration of water colours by artist James Moore. With a simple storyline of a happy young ferret named Phil who likes to play with his friend Jane but is picked on by a large hawk named Hugo.
On each page is four lines of enchanting rhyme and stunning illustrations to match. As the story continues to be read, the children jump in with questions, ‘What’s a ferret? What is glum?’, ‘Why is Hugo being so mean?’.
With a story stimulating such questions, it’s a natural phase to then discuss the subject of bullying without resorting to violence with the children. A story conveying such an important message for kids of all ages makes it easier to tackle the issue of bullying during quality time with mum, dad, educator and teacher as well as opens the channels of communication for kids to share what might be happening in their world.
Phil shows us not only how to be brave, but to stand up for ourselves without the use of violence and outwit the mean Hugo without getting anyone hurt. Phil’s parents, Shirley and Bill are concerned when Phil tells them, he is going to play where mean Hugo hangs out but a brave Phil reassures them,
“I’ll tell him – No, go away, leave me alone.”
“That’s right,” said Bill. “And if he does, let us know.”
The author’s vision is to see his book in every daycare, kindergarten and primary school in Australia. I’ve helped by taking my copy to share at my son’s school, to help William reach his goal.
For the Phil within us, I liked that it is the perfect heartwarming story that enchants the kids to not only develop but educate the kids on how to behave around others and treat others. Thank you William for your hard work to bring your story to life as well relay a relevant life lesson.