Susan Laughs by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross
|Susan Laughs by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross|
|Genre: For Sharing|
|Reviewer: Ruth Ng|
|Summary: A wonderful story, with an important message.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 32||Date: February 2011|
|Publisher: Andersen Press|
There's something very satisfying about a good picture book. With a pre-schooler at home with me all day we get through a lot of books, so I've seen hundreds, from dazzlingly brilliant through to terribly dull. There are times when my daughter at I look at each other at the end of a book and shrug in disbelief that a publisher thought it worth printing, and there are times when we read something over and over (and over!) because it's so good. This particular book is one of the brilliant ones I'm happy to say, and let me tell you why...
Susan laughs. Susan does a lot of things actually throughout this story, like riding on a pony or painting a picture, singing songs, getting scared in bed, playing on a roundabout with her friends, scaring her Granny with a jack-in-the-box. It is only on the very last page that we see that Susan is in a wheelchair, but we read that she is just like me, just like you. I wasn't sure where the book was going the first time I read it, and I was just enjoying it for the lovely illustrations and simple concepts, so when I turned the final page it came as a surprise and I immediately turned back to the beginning again to look at all the pictures in another light. I actually felt a little emotional, having assumed throughout the story (as you're supposed to) that Susan is able bodied.
Each page is a full colour picture, and each picture has a two word description, so this is a great book to share with tiny tots of around two years old but also works well for older pre-schoolers who can understand the idea of a disabled child, or who are perhaps even beginning to attempt reading for themselves and appreciate the simplicity of two words to a page. The text has a nice rhythm and flow to it, so is lovely to read aloud, and Tony Ross' illustrations are, as always, fun and lively with little details to enjoy such as the changing facial expressions of artwork on the walls or the cat's reactions to Susan's activities.
I like the range of activities we see Susan engage in, and also the fact that she is both good and bad, happy and sad. The ending allows for further discussion, if your child is interested, and would be useful within Early Years education to aid discussion of disabled and able bodied children. Yet as well as being a story with a point it is also just a lovely book to read. My daughter loved it, and so did I!
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
Further reading suggestion: For more from the same writer/illustrator combo try Big Bad Bun.
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