Jonathan James and the Whatif Monster

What if no one likes me? What if I don’t know anyone in my new class? What if I fall? What if I make a fool of myself? What if people laugh at me? What if I don’t like it? What if I get homesick?

Children and anxiety go hand in hand. There are periods in a child’s life when fears pop-up more than other times. We see it when kids are getting ready to transition to a new school. We see it when they are getting ready to try something new, like my own daughter going to sleep-away camp for the first time. But how do we help them deal with these fears?

whatif coverWhen talking it through doesn’t work or when you simply need another option to drive the message home, what do we do? Reach for a book! One book I recently came up on is Jonathan James and the Whatif Monster, by Michelle Nelson-Schmidt.

In this charming book, Jonathan James is plagued by a whatif monster who is constantly telling him about all of the bad things that might happen if he tries something new. We all have whatif monsters, but some people’s monsters are peskier than others, and poor Jonathan’s won’t leave him alone. He hears “those words full of dread, and all those ‘what ifs’ got stuck in his head.”

Jonathan couldn’t do much of anything without his monster getting in the way. With marvelous illustrations and engaging rhymes, the reader is shown all of the options of how things could go wrong and how it keeps Jonathan from taking risks.

whatif tree whatif pool whatif race

Finally, Jonathan puts his foot down – “What if you’re wrong?”

what if wait

Because Jonathan has finally realized that his fears of the what-ifs were holding him back from awesome experiences. The other side of the what if equation is always what if I have a blast?

The message in this book is simple and put to readers in a super accessible manner. You have to try. Take the risk and you might find out that it was all worth it. And what if you fail? No big deal, try again.

whatif spread 1This book is a Kane Miller publication for sale at Usborne Books and More. You can check it out, along with the plush toy whatif monster at

One comment

Leave a Reply