________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 20. . . .January 29, 2016


That Uh-oh Feeling: A Story About Touch.

Kathryn Cole. Illustrated by Qin Leng.
Toronto, ON: Second Story Press, 2016.
24 pp., hardcover, $15.95.
ISBN 978-1-927583-91-3.

Subject Headings:
Touch-Juvenile fiction
Secrets-Juvenile fiction

Kindergarten-grade 3 / Ages 5-8.

Review by Karyn Miehl.

**** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



Ian [adult soccer coach] bent down, took Claire’s foot in his hand, and turned it a little. “Try using the side of your foot a bit more.” He stood and smiled at her. “That face is too pretty to wear a frown. Let’s see a smile.”

Claire didn’t mind being called pretty, but being pretty had nothing to do with playing soccer. She was getting a weird feeling. She didn’t smile. Ian patted her back as she walked toward the other kids.


internal artThat Uh-oh Feeling: A Story About Touch provides a gentle yet important lesson to children about listening to their instincts when in uncomfortable situations. Claire is faced with a predicament when her soccer coach, Ian, makes her feel uncomfortable through his words and actions. Claire questions his request for secrecy, and she trusts her friends and her sister with the information. They comfort her and suggest she tell her mother, which she does. The story ends happily with Ian out of the picture (his fate is unknown aside from the fact he is no longer coaching the kids’ soccer team) and with Claire’s mom taking over the role of coach.

     This story portrays Claire’s struggle in a gentle way; there is nothing graphic or fearsome for young readers to encounter. Claire also demonstrates legitimate kid fears, such as her worry about Ian’s getting in trouble because of her or her teammates possibly being upset with her if she is perceived as Ian’s favourite. Also interesting in this story are the familiar faces of many characters from Cole’s book Reptile Flu (my five-year-old daughter made the connection between the texts and compared the two, pointing out the characters that appear in both), and the make-up of Claire’s family. While Reptile Flu challenged stereotypical gender roles with the father vacuuming and the boy being afraid of reptiles, That Uh-oh Feeling portrays a different family make-up. Claire has an older sister and a mother, but there is no mention or evidence of a father. This could perhaps lead to discussion with older children about how, if a dad is absent, then someone else, like a coach, might be seen as a father-figure to a child. The multi-cultural cast of characters, illustrated with vivid colours and unique features, offers a visual feast for the eyes.

     Overall, That Uh-oh Feeling is another successful and meaningful book from Cole and Leng. The lesson that a child’s feelings are important comes through clearly and can lead to valuable discussion at home or at school.

Highly Recommended.

Karyn Miehl, a mother of two and a secondary school English teacher, lives in Kingsville, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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