This beautifully illustrated book is for children 5-7 years. Its aim is to help workers, carers and parents to introduce the issues of parental dual diagnosis (mental illness and substance misuse), explore concerns and encourage positive coping and help-seeking behaviours.
The storybook features a young polar bear named Billy and his father. Billy’s father has an addiction to eating ‘Bluespike’ eels, which make him sick. One day while fishing, Billy’s father eats a Bluespike despite Billy’s pleas not to. His white fur turns blue and he becomes depressed. Billy’s Aunty Bear takes him in while other bears help clean his father’s fur. Billy stays with his aunt, makes new friends and has fun, but worries about his dad. After several weeks Billy’s father returns, healthy and clean. They reunite joyfully. The story sensitively portrays the impact of addiction on families, the importance of support systems, and that with help people can recover. It validates children’s feelings and encourages optimism. The vibrant illustrations engage young readers. Overall, it is a gentle tool for starting conversations about difficult issues.