Catch a Falling Star


48 pages
ISBN 0-9688532-0-X
DDC jC813'.6





Illustrations by Coral Nault
Reviewed by Linda Ludke

Linda Ludke is a librarian at the London Public Library.


In this earnestly bibliotherapeutic book, a young boy named Fish
discovers a swamp dragon named Iris living beneath the waters of his
favorite fly-fishing spot. Iris befriends Fish and he confesses that
“sometimes my brain gets very busy and noisy and then I get scared.”
Iris suggests some calming techniques such as “dragon breathing” and
joins him in “brain exercises,” such as picking berries. When Fish
still feels nervous and has trouble concentrating at school, “Iris
[knows he is] showing the early signs of a brain illness.” With
Iris’s support, Fish seeks professional help, is sent to a clinic for
several months, and returns “feeling much better.”

While Grass clearly shows that mental illness is not the fault of the
child, and while picture books on mental illness are certainly needed,
this book suffers from too many generalizations. Fish seems to be
experiencing only common emotions such as anger, frustration, and
restlessness, leaving readers puzzled by the diagnosis of a “brain
illness.” The doctors at the clinic promise to make the “chemical
problem” in his brain better, but we never find out how. Although the
intent is laudable, this book is not a first-choice purchase.


Grass, Gayle., “Catch a Falling Star,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 23, 2024,