Jasmine is nine going on fifty-nine. Everyone comments on her “old soul” and how kind, caring, and wise she seems to be at such a young age. Although her parents are grateful for Jasmine’s compassion, they worry it comes at too great a cost. For example, her mother says that Jasmine worries about bringing the perfect gift to a friend's birthday party or whether the cat has enough drinking water for the day. She worries about the safety of the homeless, global warming, and a possible tsunami. When her little brother catches a cold, Jasmine is convinced these are symptoms of something far worse, and nothing seems to convince her otherwise.
It is as if worry is a moving target and Jasmine is always able to seek it out. Over the past several months, she has been having terrible stomachaches in the morning, and sometimes vomits before going to school. When Jasmine’s mum suggests she stay home and rest, Jasmine panics about missing too much work and falling behind, but if her mum encourages her to go to school, Jasmine worries she’ll get others sick. Jasmine’s mom says that although Jasmine has a few friends, she has overheard them teasing Jasmine for worrying too much, which hurts Jasmine’s feelings.