Witches, monsters, goblins and hungry wolves—children’s
stories are full of dangerous and evil creatures. The world, as seen through
the eyes of a child, is indeed a scary place.
If you’ve ever observed a toddler, you know that any new object
or person is to be regarded with skepticism until thoroughly tested. A dose of
healthy caution does protect us, but part of growing up is summoning the
courage to face, and hopefully overcome, one’s fears. It is a long process of
taking two steps forward and one step back, over and over again.
Pre-teen Seymour Goldfarb’s list of fears is longer than
most fourth graders’. Life is bearable only because he has mastered the art of
avoiding just about everything. Then one summer an Israeli cousin comes to
visit and ruins Seymour’s complicated plans. Seymour has excuses to avoid the
beach, birthday parties, all sports, and his crush, but unfortunately his
cousin isn’t buying any of it.
Seymour is forced out of his (very tiny) comfort zone by the cousin who wants to see and do everything. The turning point is seeing his seemingly unflappable cousin become afraid in a moment of crisis. Read about their hilarious summer adventures in Kar-Ben’s middle grade novel, Seymour, The Formerly Fearful. The cringe-worthy awkwardness is a gentle reminder that, hey, we’ve all been there.