Molly and the Runaway Trolley

Teach kids how to put the brakes on stress and worry with this entertaining picture book

Author: Ashley Bartley
Illustrator: Brian Martin
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Molly’s mind is filled with dread and worry, leaving her shaky, sweaty, dizzy, and queasy. She feels like her body’s riding a streetcar that has completely careened out of control.

It’s a feeling that comes anytime she’s about to take a test, a quiz, or has an unexpected change in routine. Her anxiety transports her onto a jam-packed trolley filled with all her worries, fears, and doubts. She doesn’t know how to get off, how long the ride will last, or where she will end up. But one thing is certain: the ride makes her head hurt, her heart pound, her ears ring, and her legs wobble.

When Molly finds herself on yet another twisting, twirling trolley ride, she is determined to make it stop. She begs the operator, a grandfatherly type with a twinkle in his eyes, to pull the brakes. But he won’t because he can’t.

He’s not the one who is actually at the controls. Molly is!

Molly tells him that’s impossible because she’s just a kid. But he assures her that the power to stop the trolley is in her hands. He explains how taking deep breaths engages the brakes, how stepping back from worry puts the trolley in reverse, and how counting down using the five senses leads to a smooth stop and solid ground.    

Now that Molly knows how to take control, will she be able to slow down this anxiety-fueled streetcar? Or will she be stuck on a never-ending ride with no exit?            

Using snappy text and lively illustrations, author Ashley Bartley explores childhood anxiety and feelings of panic. A special page written specifically for parents, caregivers, and educators offers insights and strategies on how to empower elementary-age children with the skills they need to manage stress and use self-regulation strategies.  

Extend the learning for your students by purchasing the Downloadable Activities that were made to accompany this story.

Bartley is also the author of the entertaining Diamond, Opal and Friends book series, which includes these popular titles:

Published by Boys Town Press
ISBN: 979-8-88907-002-3
Juvenile Fiction
Full Color Illustrations
31 pages
Softcover, 9"x9"
Grades K-5; Ages 5-11
Lexile Measure: 650L