A Case of the Jitters is the follow-up to Attack of the Heebie Jeebies by the brilliant Tom Percival. Percival, best known for his pictures books - particularly the ‘Big Bright Feelings’ series - explores emotions and feelings for slightly older readers in these delightful chapter books. The books read perfectly well as standalone stories so don’t worry if you haven’t read the series starter. The books centre around the Dream Team, a random assortment of characters whose top secret job is to keep children safe in their dreams. After being ‘saved’ and helped by the Dream Team in the first story, Erika is now part of the group and can be summoned to Dream Team HQ to help with other children’s problem dreams. And this is exactly what happens in A Case of the Jitters.
Chanda Anand is having a tough time. Bullied and pushed around in the day time, a Jitter is now invading her dreams and is threatening to replace her in her real life. With a head full of bad thoughts, her happy memories are fading fast and her confidence and self-belief has all but been eroded. Chanda needs help. Can the Dream Team overcome their toughest challenge yet…
This is an action-packed fantasy adventure into the Dreamscape in which Percival deals with very important issues. Thoughtful and entertaining, Percival focuses on the fears and worries that children have growing-up and whisks children away to a fantasy land where these issues are faced head on and defeated through thrilling adventures and heroic actions. Percival and the Dream Team help children to understand that with self-belief, some supportive friends and a little bit of help from others it is possible to take control of anxiety and fears. This is played out beautifully through Chanda who with the help of the Dream Team is able to overcome her dream Jitter and then the following day finds the self-belief to stand-up to the school bully.
A nice sub-plot in the real world sees Erika’s friend Kris struggling with his own lack of self-confidence. The school talent show would be the perfect opportunity for Kris to make the whole school laugh but beset by worries there’s no way that Kris could stand on stage. In searching for her answers to Chanda’s problem, Erika has a timely conversation with Kris that gives him the encouragement he needs to perform - which is a resounding success. Kris’ appearance although brief, just shows how a few comforting and important words from a friend can make the world of difference.
The illustrations, of which there are plenty, zing with energy and fizz with excitement. I love the use of a single colour theme and this time Percival has chosen yellow.
Great for sharing with younger children or for children of 7+ to read independently.
Recommended for 6+.