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Wilma Jean the Worry Machine Paperback – January 15, 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 105 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Julia Cook was born and raised in Salt Lake City Utah. While living in Utah, she became actively involved in teaching children how to ski. That experience led to a love of teaching in general. Julia now lives in Fremont, Nebraska and has a Masters degree in Elementary School Counseling. While serving as a guidance counselor, she often used childrens books to enhance her classroom lessons. Julia is now a nationally recognized award-winning childrens book author who has written more than a dozen books on behavior and health for children as well as several activity books for teachers. Her light, humorous approach keeps kids laughing while they're learning good behavior skills. The goal behind all of Julias books and efforts is to actively involve people into her fun and creative stories and teach them to become life-long problem solvers. Inspirations for her books come from working with children and carefully listening to parents, teachers and corporate leaders. Julias books have been referenced in such publications as Parents Magazine, The New Yorker, and babyzone.com. In her spare time, Julia enjoys spending time with her husband and family. In order to teach a child, you must enter their view of the world. - Julia Cook
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: National Center for Youth Issues; 1 edition (January 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1937870014
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937870010
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 0.2 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,205 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Maureen Caryl on November 7, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As an elementary school counselor, I use several of Julia Cook's books for classroom guidance lessons and with individual students and they are mostly great! This one, however, isn't going to make the cut because most of the solutions offered to the anxious main character are unrealistic or place the responsibility on adults. There are better books out there to help kids with worries and anxiety.
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Format: Paperback
Author Julia Cook, has an incredible gift of writing books for children! Her books teach important life skills, and are written through the child's view of the world. As an Elementary School Counselor I have incorporated many of Julia's books into my curriculum and must say Wilma Jean has been a hit with all my students k-5, parents, and staff!!! It's a FUN interactive book that teaches and gives children tools to handle their worries!
Children will quickly learn through Wilma Jean that the only thing they can't control is weather, for all of their other worries there is usually a solution.
Wilma Jean the Worry Machine should certainly find it's way onto your bookshelf if you're a Parent, School Counselor, Teacher, Social Worker, Psychologist, and/or Pediatrician.
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Format: Paperback
I purchased this book for my son because of good reviews I had seen on it somewhere else, and since I am a worrier, and would prefer for my son not to be, I thought it would be a good choice for us. I was very disappointed when we read it. We actually only read it once before I decided to give it away. I felt like it basically gives you suggestions of all of the things you could be worrying about and would have made me more stressed out as a kid - not what I was going for at all...
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I generally love Julia Cook's books, so it was a no-brainer for me to buy this one. However, I do not ever use this book. As others have said, it puts the responsibility to SOLVE every problem onto the adults in Wilma Jean's life. Not only do I not want to give children the message that they need to be rescued by an adult, but not every worry is reasonable and needs solving. The world can be a scary and uncertain place and this is a fact that we each must come to terms with if we want to function within it. Sending the message that some outside force will swoop in to soothe every concern you have is simply not realistic and a very bad message for children with anxiety.

That said, I DID like the concepts in the book, just not their execution. I feel strongly that a re-write that helps Wilma Jean recognize which worries are in her control (and address those) and then some tools to help her deal with the worries that are not rational and/or outside of her control would take this from a 2 star book to a 5 star book.
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I wish I would have listened to the other reviews about the concern of itemizing everything a kid can worry about. Our case is food anxiety but I could see the "wheels turning" in my little ones head thinking of other things to worry about. This book spends way to many pages itemizing all the things kids "should not" worry about, but does the exact opposite. I won't read it to them without skipping most of the worries, which is like 90% of the book. Someone needs to write a book that focuses on the resolution and not the problem. This book was recommended by a speech therapist but I certainly would not pass on that recommendation. Oh well this will likely sit unread on the shelf or be recycled because I will not expose someone else to this book
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I tried this book out on my own 10 year old daughter before using it during therapy sessions with children. It was a hit, all the kids loved it and could relate to the character's issues. I recommend this book.
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Format: Paperback
The preschool and early elementary years can be tough for some kids; there are lots of changes - pre-k, kindergarten, new siblings, parents returning to work - and higher expectations for behavior. A lot of children in the target age for this book (4-7) understand things intellectually that they don't yet understand emotionally, and that can lead to anxiety. At this age, kids will often respond to anxiety by trying to get attention. At an age where adults expect independence and compliance, some kids will escalate their behavior to the level necessary to get the attention they need. Anxiety can manifest as behavior challenges as kids create conflict so that an adult will step in and dominate the situation.

This book introduces Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) strategies for managing anxiety. It is a great resource for families who find themselves in situations full of conflict and challening behavior. It is written in a way that is accessible to young children and opens the door to conversations that might otherwise be hard to broach. A child's anxiety does not need to be pervasive for this book to be effective. Everyone experiences some anxiety some of the time. The CBT strategies are applicable to children who experience anxiety occasionally, for instance ahead of starting school, or daily. Learning how to manage anxiety is part of growing up, and this book introduces in a non-clinical manner an effective set of tools to do so.

Even thought Wilma Jean's specific worries were not relevant to our child, he could use empathy to understand how she felt and learned the coping strategies. It also introduced a language for us to reinforce the CBT strategies.
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