Anna Walker’s poignant illustrated story of a young boy called Bill and the embodiment of his bad mood, Mr Huff, is a perfect example of how stories can illuminate our struggles with mindset in our everyday lives.
Whether we realise it or not, we make a choice every day about how we will approach the day and this mindset colours how we act and react to any given situation. From the very beginning we see Bill make the unconscious choice to get stuck in his bad mood, and as his day wears on, his mood follows him everywhere in the form of a looming dark cloud called Mr Huff.
Anna’s evocative illustrations challenge readers to visualise our mindset and acknowledge it, making reference to the importance of emotional self-awareness.
We see how Bill begins to understand Mr Huff and how initially, he struggles with articulating what he is. It isn’t until he confronts his mood and sees himself within it, that he has realises his power over it and begins to change his mindset.
Mr Huff has very few words, but the story creates lots of opportunity for discussion with children. This is important because our perception of self is greatly influenced by mindsets we’ve formed at an early age.
“Anna Walker writes and illustrates children’s books and is based in Melbourne. Her charming studio is shared with a printmaker, Rosy the lamp, a few friendly plants, and knitted, woolly creatures. Working with pencil, ink and collage, Anna develops her characters and enjoys spending time with them before they venture out into the world. Her illustrations are inspired by the everyday details of life and the amusing antics of her menagerie. Anna’s latest book with Penguin is Mr Huff, an exploration of how kids deal with the worrying feelings that can accompany a bad day. Together with Jane Godwin, Anna has also recently created a beautiful picture book for Christmas, called What Do You Wish For?”
Check out more from Anna here: