Saturday, November 28, 2020

Review - The Invisible Boy

The Invisible Boy

by Trudy Ludwig
illustrated by Patrice Barton
Date: 2013
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: library

A simple act of kindness can transform an invisible boy into a friend…

Meet Brian, the invisible boy. Nobody ever seems to notice him or think to include him in their group, game, or birthday party... until, that is, a new kid comes to class.

When Justin, the new boy, arrives, Brian is the first to make him feel welcome. And when Brian and Justin team up to work on a class project together, Brian finds a way to shine.

From esteemed author and speaker Trudy Ludwig and acclaimed illustrator Patrice Barton, this gentle story shows how small acts of kindness can help children feel included and allow them to flourish. Any parent, teacher, or counselor looking for material that sensitively addresses the needs of quieter children will find The Invisible Boy a valuable and important resource.

Includes backmatter with discussion questions and resources for further reading.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This is a cute little story about friendship and kindness.

Brian is invisible. The other kids in the class don't seem to see him. He's excluded from everything and is always picked last. He's a quiet kid who keeps to himself, and so is often overlooked. One day, a new student shows up. The other kids make fun of his lunch. Brian leaves a supportive note in Justin's cubby, and the seeds of a new friendship are planted.

This book could be the start of some interesting discussions and, in fact, there are some questions at the back to help you get started. I don't know if I'm really a fan of those, as some of them seemed to imply that the kids were being cruel on purpose. (Given the age at which the kids are depicted, the incidents in question were more likely thoughtless rather than intentionally malicious.)

I like the way Brian is drawn in black and white most of the time, with colour starting to creep in whenever someone "sees" him. And the illustrations are pretty cute in general. They're my favourite part of the book.

Those looking for books about inclusion, thoughtfulness, and kindness will probably find something to like here. It's nice to see a book that doesn't go straight for the bullying angle; there are subtler ways that kids can hurt each other, even unintentionally, and this book addresses some of them in a sensitive way.

Quotable moment:

At morning recess, Brian finds a piece of chalk on the ground and starts drawing away.

Premise: 3/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 4/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 3/5

Overall: 3.5 out of 5

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