Submitter: This book is part of a series by Shriver for helping kids accept the fact that bad stuff happens to people and no one knows why. There is another book we own by Shriver about Alzheimer’s. Kate, our main character, learns through colored pencil illustrations that Timmy may be disabled, but he tries his best to be just like everyone else. The book is very wordy, definitely something I wouldn’t read to any kids. But the kicker for me is that it uses the term “mental retardation.” As far as I know, even as a medical term, retardation was not used as a diagnosis any more by 2001, though I may be mistaken. I’ve included more pictures of the text, because the illustrations are rather bland and forgettable.
Holly: I have yet to see the perfect “explain our differences” picture book. They either have weird illustrations or too many words or questionable terminology. This one is better than many, I’d say, but I do agree that there are too many words per page. I think it could be said just as nicely in a sentence or two per page with words kids can understand (and words they should be encouraged to use).
This is part of a series on helping children cope with social situations, friendship, and other minefields of life. This book walks children through the diagnosis and treatment of learning disabilities. In this kid’s case, ADHD.
I get the intention of these books, but I am not a fan. They usually have no story or read like a textbook. In this case, we also get the bonus of few illustrations. (The cover really bugs me. The kid’s arms seem wrong.) I also have to wonder how you get a kid with attention problems to sit still long enough to read this boring story.
You can tell by the cover of this book that it is old! The one dark spot over the word “Don’t” in the title is where the protective plastic cover is ripped. Condition = fail.
Second, look at that amazing collar on Paul’s shirt! Definitely 1975. The furniture in Paul’s family room (last picture, below) is also very 70s. I don’t know if they still make prostheses like Paul’s arm…but I bet if they still have that style, it is vastly improved. Currency = fail.
There’s nothing wrong with the idea behind this book. It was a great choice for a public or school library in 1975. I think we can update, though. I don’t feel sorry for Paul. He’s amazing (and probably about 50 years old now!). I do feel sorry for the library that thinks they can’t do better than this book.