The Wolf and the Baby Dragon

By: Avril McDonald


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Ebook


Size: 234 x 286mm

Pages : 32

ISBN : 9781785830211

Format: Paperback

Published: May 2016


When Wolfgang and his friends learn about a secret cave where a baby dragon is growing they quickly run off to find it but, sadly, Wolfgang gets left behind. His bag is full of heavy worries that are making him slow and he just can't let go of them. When he trips on a rock and falls, Spider shows him how to rest his busy mind and tells them that worries aren't so bad if you share them. Nobody likes worries, so it's good to know how to give a worried mind a rest!

Suitable for 4- to 7-year-olds.

The Feel Brave series was a finalist in the 2017 Education Resources Awards in the Educational Book Award category.


Picture for author Avril McDonald

Avril McDonald

Avril McDonald is the bestselling, award-winning author of the Feel Brave series of books and founder of Feel Brave, a company with a vision to give all children access to tools that help them manage tough emotions and reach their potential. Avril has a Diploma of Education from Wellington College of Education, New Zealand, where she trained as a primary school teacher majoring in music and dance. She then had a varied career in digital entertainment before launching Feel Brave to give teachers and parents simple and practical strategies to help children with their emotional well-being. Her free '1 Dose/Day' emotional well-being programme for children is now used in more than 350 schools across ten countries. Avril is an official partner of the New Zealand Life Education Trust and Patron of Westminster Children's University.

Click here to read a feature on Avril's Feel Brave series on New Zealand's Stuff' website.

Click here to listen to UKEdChats podcast with Avril McDonald.

'Emotional tools for kids taught through books and songs.'

'Teaching children empathy.'

'Empowering kids to feel brave and tackle tough emotions'


Reviews

  1. The books do a great job of dealing with dark topics and have loads of perfect tension points for philosophical enquiry. The themes in the two I have used (The Grand Wolf and The Wolf and the Shadow Monster) are death and fear respectively and both prompted fascinating discussions on these topics in years 1 and 2.

    The spider character who reoccurs in every book providing a new way of framing the problem to help the protagonist is an especially useful generator of philosophical bite points. For example, in The Wolf and the Shadow Monster she says, -œYou can change how you feel using your mind-. Doing this story with my year 2 class, we broke the circle on mind and then I asked them, -œIs the spider right, can you change how you feel using your mind?- It was a fantastic discussion in which the children shared many surprising psychological insights. Our reading of The Grand Wolf facilitated a frank discussion about the nature of death as well as possibly distressing changes in general. After asking the children, -œWhat does it mean, that the Grand Wolf died?-, we discussed -˜Is it bad when the world changes?' after the book's characters note that they do not want their world to change. This session was heavily praised by the teacher who was moved to shed a tear by the book's ending.



    The children have also found the artwork compelling and interesting. I have had a lot of success with these books in the classroom.
  2. The Feel Brave books use fictional narrative to explore social psychological predicaments through the journey of Wolfgang. The books do well to elicit emotional responses from the children, which draws them in to engage with the moral particularities of the situation Wolfgang finds himself in. They manage this through a combination of effective framing of moral situations which raise questions, a poetic rhyming structure of the text and vibrant artwork with a playful aesthetic appeal.
  3. Children love the Feel Brave books. The books help children learn about difficulties in life but in a way that makes them easy to understand and accept through the rhythm, rhyme and repetition, the beautiful illustrations and the very clear messages and strategies that are subtly put across in each story. The accompanying Feel Brave Teaching Guide curates great ideas, games and activities for teachers to build on the stories' messages and the Feel Brave -˜Emotion Cards' (which are made up of the Feel Brave characters) cleverly provide meaningful and fun ways for teachers to help build emotional literacy. The app demonstrates outstanding innovation around being able to combine ICT time with PSHE.

    As a teacher, I cannot praise these books and the teaching guide enough. My Year Three class love the books. They have listened to every story and we have even done a class assembly based on The Wolf is Not Invited using the CD-ROM with all of the book illustrations in the back of the teaching guide. My class performed this during the week leading up to anti-bullying week and the message was shared with the whole school. Children as old as 11 came out of the assembly wanting to read the books. We at Woodford Green Preparatory School were also very fortunate to have Avril visit the school during that week and the children could not get enough of her stories, which were an absolute hit. We created our own Feel Brave -˜Tree House' to support all of the PSHE work we continue to do around the Feel Brave books.

    The Feel Brave reading books, accompanying Feel Brave Teaching Guide, Emotion Cards and app make learning and teaching fun for children, and simple and practical for teachers. The stories can be used in so many cross-curricular ways, and with children falling in love with the characters there is a deep meaning for them in what they are doing which enhances their learning. To find stories that can open up conversations around self-confidence; anxiety and fears; change, loss and grief; worries and calming down; making relationships; and provide activities to support PSHE is such a great support for us as teachers.



    The series is great value for the amount of use a school can get out of the resources across many curriculum areas. The teaching guide has a CD-ROM containing all of the book illustrations, and each chapter has the stories written with page numbers which means that they can be projected onto a big screen for assemblies or classroom sessions and easily read aloud to children. Each book covers various current PSHE objectives for the Key Stage One group, which is often a challenging age to find really engaging and meaningful content for in emotional well-being.
  4. The Feel Brave books and resources demonstrate creative innovation for teachers and children in PSHE and across other curriculum areas. The resources are both physical and digital which make them both current and relevant for children. The books are wonderfully written in verse with beautiful and engaging illustrations so the resources really resonate with children, teachers and parents.

    The resources are a great way for children to learn about critical issues in their lives, such as resilience, friendship, anxiety and loss. The stories (which are based on sound psychological research) enable teachers and children to have conversations about such topics and integrate them into their PSHE objectives. The Feel Brave Teaching Guide offers both creative and cooperative activities and strategies to help build emotional well-being whilst also providing a lot of cross-curricular learning potential in areas such as literacy, art and physical education.

    The ideas for teachers in the teaching guide can be used as five-minute exercises during circle time or easily adapted into longer lessons so teachers can easily pick and choose what best suits their timetable and easily integrate PSHE into their day. The -˜Emotion Cards' and app provide ways for children to be independently learning and improving the way that they communicate their feelings and emotions. The CD-ROM with the book's illustrations allows teachers to be creative and flexible in how they use the stories and messages and create lesson plans around them.



    Just having a set of the Feel Brave books and teaching guide alone in a school provides great value in giving teachers fun and engaging ways to help children develop emotional well-being. We were fortunate to have Avril carry out an author visit at our school where she told the stories and demonstrated some of the activities with the children, which was of huge value to us. The feedback from her visit was extremely positive and attracted media attention based on the importance of tackling the alarming trends in children's mental health right now, a campaign which St John's fully supports.
  5. The Wolf and the Baby Dragon (Finding Calm) is actually my favorite of all the books since learning to self-regulate and to be OK with self is central to healthy living. No one lives a stress-free life, so it is critical to learn these skills.  The story demonstrates how to calm oneself and to identify feelings. The idea that Wolfgang is not able to carry his backpack is one a young person can readily relate to.  The spider gives good advice in learning to breathe and the magical spell can easily be memorized and used by parents or teachers as a reminder. I especially like that Wolfgang's friends actually return for him, something that shows their kindness and their willingness to be good friends and share his burden.  In return, he shares his magical spell with them so everyone is able to address their stress. Cool!



    The teaching guide is great in this chapter and gives hands-on, developmentally appropriate, exercises to do with children as individuals or as a class.  The questions at the end would serve as excellent starting points to see how children react to the story and what they can learn from it. I enjoyed reading the excerpt on how our brains work and how this might encourage adults to share their own worries with children. My favorite exercise is changing the channel, something most children can relate to along with specific behaviors that can help a person to calm themselves. The teaching guide is also very helpful in not only giving ideas for activities to address this concept, but is extremely thorough by including recipes and addresses to obtain resources.  
  6. This series of books is truly amazing -“ wonderfully written and beautifully illustrated. They will help parents, caregivers and teachers support children, young and old, in developing emotional literacy. I see teaching emotional literacy as one of the most important things we as parents/teachers can do to help ensure our child's sense of well-being and future success.  

    You know you are in good hands with Avril too - with her background as a teacher and having a diploma in education, this depth of experience shines through!



    I couldn't recommend these captivating books more highly, a must for every child!
  7. Avril's Feel Brave series of stories for 4-7 year olds are perfectly pitched. The stories are engaging, funny and and sensitive. I have read them with a few children now, they've giggled out loud, asked questions provoked by the stories and used some of the terminology afterwards too - like -˜my magical mind'. Avril's stories are based on sound psychological research. The message is delivered in a simple way, often by the wise words of the friendly spider. The accompanying book for parents/teachers is excellent too. She expands on the themes from the stories and offers additional practical ideas to enhance learning and development. These books are a great way for kids to learn about resilience and emotional well-being.
  8. Avril McDonald's new series featuring her character Wolfgang (there are five books) are more than simply children's stories - they each carry an important message, and this is surely the most powerful and enjoyable way to get the messages across. The illustrations are superb, the messages simple but effective, and the series should seriously find a way into your home if you have young children. Each of the five books covers a different topic, e.g. bullying, that children might face during their young lives - each book explains through the eyes and the attitude of Wolfgang, how he deals with what's happening. This kind of storytelling is the modern equivalent of fables, and is a must-read for parents who want to help their children through the difficult stages of their lives. Absolutely terrific.

    Click here to read the review on their website.

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