Rachel Rose: Lake Valley & Big Feelings

A Resource Guide

“Children’s books are engines for empathy. They allow us to see through the eyes of others.
By transporting us to other worlds they help us understand our own.

Illustrator and author Chris Riddell

This artwork can be an engine for empathy. It allows us to see through the eyes of others (all the characters in the video) and transports us to other worlds. This helps us to understand our own world, emotions, realities. 

In “Lake Valley”, the artist Rachel Rose explores themes that she found in early children’s literature such as isolation, loneliness, boredom, abandonment, and seeking for connection. Much of the imagery in the animation was created by reusing elements from illustrations in antique children’s books. 

Themes and Feelings

– Loneliness 
– Abandonment 
– Friendship 
– Isolation 
– Alcohol use/abuse  
– Past/current trauma or abuse 
– Friends who aren’t what they appear to be or are they? 
– Feeling lost 
– Perseverance 
– Uncertainty: are they safe or not; what is safe or not safe?

– Constant change 
– Withdrawing into sleep 
– Drowning 
– Dissociation 
– Floating 
– Anger 
– Beauty 
– Vibrant color and motion 
– Cute animals and beautiful flowers 
– Contrasting  feeling and emotions 
– Cognitive dissonance 
– Visual dissonance 

– Parental anger 
– Trash/Garbage 
– Resilience 
– Anxiety 
– Depression
– Hunger 
– Food insecurity 
– Determination
– Accessing 
– Coping skills in many different situations

Discuss & Process

Viewing Lake Valley may elicit many reactions, responses and even emotional triggers that help us to understand our own world and experiences. The following steps may help you (or children you know) to better navigate these:

  1. Identify the feelings and emotions you yourself experience. We have provided an extensive but not all encompassing list of themes, feelings, and reactions you might encounter. Use the list in recognizing these feelings as well as emotional triggers and responses. Identifying your own reaction helps you become more aware of how to process your reactions.  
    If you are viewing this with your child, identify what you feel and ask them to do the same.  
  2. Keep in mind that we all have all sorts of feelings and reactions. Feelings signal how we read the environment and are designed to mobilize an adaptive response. These feelings/reactions are not good or bad. They can, however, be comfortable or uncomfortable.  
    We all have all kinds of feelings and reactions. All of us, including children, need to have our feelings validated as normal responses without judgment.  
  3. Bring curiosity and openness to whatever you are experiencing and mindfully investigate what is at the heart of your feelings. Ask yourself what character/s you identify with in the video (the animals, the adults, the children?) What is it about that character that prompts your reactions?  
    Discuss with your child what parts of the video prompted their feelings/reactions and validate these as real and legitimate.

Additional Resources

American Psychological Association 
For a list of useful topics: https://www.apa.org/topics  
Also search for “Helping Children Cope” 

Children’s books covering mental & emotional health themes:

National Institute of Health: Emotional Wellness Toolkit  

What does it mean to be triggered? 

Child Trauma Resources: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration  

Psychology Today 

How to manage your emotional triggers  
Author: Ilene Strauss Cohen Ph.D.  

The Key Skill We Rarely Learn: How to Feel Your Feelings  
Author: Victoria Lemle Becker, Ph.D. 

This guide was written by
Marianne Bowden, Ph.D.  
Bowden & Associates LLC
365 Riffel Rd., Suite B  | Wooster, Ohio 44691 | 330.345.3461