Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Book Review: Boo's Beard by Rose Mannering

Boo’s Beard
By Rose Mannering
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Published: Oct. 6, 2015
ISBN: 978-1634502078

Amazon Synopsis:

Tom can’t read facial expressions, so he doesn’t understand the other children and they don’t understand him. Playing at the park can be lonely sometimes, but luckily Tom has his dog, Boo, and Boo is easy to understand. She wags her tail when she is happy and whines when she is sad.

One day, Boo gets her beard all knotted up in the bushes. A little girl named Lydia sees Boo and stops to talk to Tom. Boo’s beard has been tangled into a big smile, and Lydia explains to Tom that it’s the expression that someone makes when she is happy. She twists Boo’s beard into more expressions, explaining each one as she goes. When Lydia invites Tom and Boo to play on the swings with the kids, Tom and Boo join her. And at the end of the book, Tom understands the meaning of his own smile.

This sweet book familiarizes children with social disabilities, such as autism and Asperger’s syndrome. Children learn the meaning of facial expressions and are introduced to the possibility that some children may have difficulty interacting with them.

Book Links

My Thoughts:

Boo’s Beard is about a boy named Tom with a social disability (such as autism) who does not understand facial expressions. When his dog Boo gets her beard tangled up so it looks like a big smile, a girl named Lydia explains to Tom that Boo is smiling and it means she is happy.

Lydia shows Tom other expressions using Boo’s beard and explains those to him as well and by the end of the book, Tom understands that his smile shows he is happy.

I liked this book because it is a good jumping off point to help children understand others who do not have the ability to make the same connection to facial expressions that the rest of us do. At the same time we can use the book to help autistic children understand facial expressions by making them and looking at them in a mirror as we read the book.

I particularly liked that despite Tom’s social difficulties, he was invited to play with the other children. The story gives the message that we should accept the differences in others.

The illustrations in Boo’s Beard are bright, colourful and fun to look at. I thought both the author and illustrator did an excellent job in putting together a book that can be used to help children understand and develop empathy towards others with social disabilities. I have given this book a rating of 5 stars out of 5.

Thank you to the publishers for the book in exchange for a fair and honest review. A positive opinion was not required. All thoughts are my own.

About the Author:

Rose Mannering is an English writer and international author. She writes both YA and children’s fiction. Her first picture book with illustrator Bethany Straker, The Spotty Dotty Daffodil, was published in 2014. She lives in Kent, England, with naughty twin doggies named Boo and Delilah who don’t like having their beards brushed!

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