An Unexpected Thing

An Unexpected Thing

By Author / Illustrator

Ashling Lindsay


Personal Growth

Age range(s)



Frances Lincoln Publishers Ltd




Paperback / softback




An Unexpected Thing is a beautifully illustrated, touching children's picture book about facing fears, dealing with anxiety and learning to explore the world.

Fred is afraid. Of everything. He spends his days jumping at loud noises, recoiling from scary shadows and hiding from new people. So you can imagine how he felt when a huge, menacing spot appears as if from nowhere. Too terrified to do anything else, Fred hides away from the spot and imagines all the awful things it could be...  Luckily, Coco isn't afraid of anything! She loves exploring new things and sees the best in every new experience that comes her way. When Coco sees the spot, she knows that it must be something wonderful. And she's going to find out what it is. And this time, Fred is going to come with her and face his fears once and for all.

This is a story of different perspectives, overcoming those feelings of worry and uneasiness, facing your fears and finding out that the world isn't such a bad place after all if you're ready to explore.



In An Unexpected Thing, Fred is afraid of everything. He spends his days jumping at loud noises and recoiling from scary shadows. So you can imagine how he feels when a huge black SPOT appears in the sky. Luckily, Coco isn't afraid of anything and loves exploring new things. When Coco sees the SPOT she knows that it must be something wonderful and she wants to find out what it is.

This brilliant story follows the journey that Fred takes from being scared to being able to face his fears. Ashling has beautifully framed an issue which many children face, so this story will allow fantastic conversations to help calm a child or give additional strategies for coping with different situations.

An Unexpected Thing would be a perfect start for a lesson focusing on emotions, or for a learning mentor to use in a session with a small group or individual child. As a parent, I would use it when I feel my child is going to experience something new or if they are struggling with sleeping as they are overthinking. The beautiful illustrations and simple text ensure that it is a book which you will want to read over and over again. I strive to be like Coco! The world is a wonderful place, we just have to be ready to explore it.

Picture book / Reviewed by Amanda Shipton, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 5+


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