*Picture book, preschoolers to 2nd graders
*Little girl as main character
*Rating: Thumb Love by Elise Primavera is kind of a wild ride into getting kids to stop sucking their thumb. The author takes into account how just very hard it is, and how when the child takes ownership, there is more success. Thumb Love is a great way to open up a conversation with a child about the time to stop sucking his/her thumb.
Short, short summary: Lulu loves to suck her thumb, but the adults in her life think she should stop. She doesn’t think it’s a terrible idea, so she tries. But it’s VERY hard, and her thumb even speaks to her and gives her some thumb guilt. Eventually, she figures out 12 steps to quit thumb sucking and suggests these to the reader, too. And in the end, she finds success and becomes friends with her thumb. The illustrations are super cute, and there’s a lot of humor for the adult reading it, too.
So, what should I do with this book?
1. The obvious use is to read it to a thumb sucker–it probably won’t “cure” them. But as I always preach on here, books are a great way to open up a conversation with kids in a non-threatening way. You can ask kids open-ended questions to get the conversation started: “What do you think about what LuLu did to quit sucking her thumb?” “Do you think it worked? Why or why not?” “Have you ever felt like LuLu at any point in this book?”
2. Lulu devises 12 steps to quit sucking her thumb. If you are reading this to a class, you could pick a class problem and create 12 steps to solve the problem (running/pushing when lining up, throwing away all trash at lunch, remembering to say please and thank you/ sharing toys). Let children help you come up with the 12 steps, using Lulu’s as a model. Use the 12 steps to solve this classroom problem, after posting them where everyone can see.
3. In Thumb Love, Lulu’s thumb speaks to her (personification). Students will have fun drawing thumb illustrations and letting the thumb talk with a comic strip speech bubble. Encourage them to be creative and even branch out to other body parts.