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We'll Paint the Octopus Red Hardcover – August 1, 1998


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We'll Paint the Octopus Red + My Friend Isabelle + My Friend Has Down Syndrome (Let's Talk About It)
Price for all three: $31.60

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 and up
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten and up
  • Hardcover: 25 pages
  • Publisher: Woodbine House; 1 edition (August 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1890627062
  • ISBN-13: 978-1890627065
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 10.8 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,935 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3-Emma isn't happy to learn that she will soon be a big sister. After talking with her father, however, she thinks of "at least a million things my new brother or sister could do with me," and she eagerly awaits her sibling's arrival. When Isaac is born, the family is confronted with the fact that he has Down Syndrome. Emma's father explains that Isaac will still be able to do all of the things that Emma has thought of; he will just do them at a slower pace. The story ends on a high note with an excited Emma and her father visiting Isaac and her mother in the hospital. A well-thought-out question-and-answer section completes this bibliotherapeutic title. Although the artwork lacks the warmth of the text and Emma's skin tone and hair color are inconsistently portrayed, this is an appropriate title for parenting collections or as an additional purchase for children's collections.
Lisa Gangemi Krapp, Sousa Elementary School, Port Washington, NY
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Ages 4^-7. What starts as a regular new-baby story takes an unexpected twist. The young redheaded narrator is at first displeased with the idea of a new sibling but then has lots of ideas about what they might do together. She will take the baby to her grandfather's farm and feed the calves. Her father says they can do that when the baby is older. She will teach the baby to paint. Her father says they can do that when the baby is older. She will take the baby to Africa on a photo safari. Her father says fine, but only if he can go, too. After the girl and her father are finished talking, she says, "We'd thought of at least a million things my new brother or sister could do with me." Then, Father comes home with the news that baby Isaac has been born with Down syndrome. Her father is upset, but as the girl asks her questions all over again, they both see that although it may take a little longer and require more patience, they can't find one of those million things that Isaac won't be able to do with their help. The fine text gets right to a child's level of understanding, and the positive messages of acceptance and helping may best be understood by children this age. An appended question-and-answer spread, written at a child's level, tells what Down syndrome is, why some babies have it, and why parents may feel sad when the baby is born. Ink-and-watercolor pictures, while not expertly executed, do exude a warm feeling that matches the story. Although the book skirts some issues that Isaac may face (e.g., intolerance, illness), this is a thoughtful, focused book that will be of enormous help to families with Down syndrome children. Ilene Cooper

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Customer Reviews

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Poignant yet simple book for teaching siblings about Down Syndrome.
Kinsley R. Wentzky
This is a great, simple, accurate, sweet book about a little girl who has a brother with Down syndrome.
Penny Thoughtful
The first time I read this with my kids I barely made it through without crying.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 18, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I originally purchased We'll Paint the Octopus Red to help me explain Down Syndrome to my older daughter when my younger daughter was born: the whys and how comes the little one needed more attention. The story is simply told. The only child will now become an older child. She and her younger sibling will have so much fun together, her dad advises. But on the day that the baby is born, the dad is sad and tells his daughter that the baby has Down Syndrome. The daughter, in her innocence, carefully reviews all the plans that her dad said she could do with her baby brother. After each example, the dad advises that they could still do the activity with a little patience. Slowly, the daughter teaches the dad and the reader that children with Down Syndrome can do almost anything with love, patience, understanding and the opportunity to try. The book not only gave guidance to my husband and me, but also was helpful in breaking down old stereotypes and ideas held by our parents.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 8, 1999
Format: Hardcover
WE'LL PAINT THE OCTOPUS RED WAS A WONDERFUL BOOK. MY SON HAS DOWNS SYNDROME. HE IS NOW 18 HE ENJOYED READING THE BOOK. HE READ IT TO 3 CHILDERN WHO HAVE A BROTHER 7 MONTHS OLD WHO HAS DOWNS SYNDROME. I WISH MORE PEOPLE WOULD BE AS CONSERNED AS EMMA.THANK YOU FOR A WONDERFUL BOOK.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Penny Thoughtful on July 11, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is a great, simple, accurate, sweet book about a little girl who has a brother with Down syndrome. It explains that kids with Down syndrome need more time and patience, but they all can learn to do the things other kids do. I highly recommend this book to kids with Down syndrome and their siblings, friends, neighbors and relatives. It's good on its own and as an alternative to What's Wrong With Timmy?, a book that covers the same topic in a much less appealing manner.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Paul VINE VOICE on November 21, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Six year old Emma isn't very happy about the idea of having a new brother or sister but when Emma and her dad start thinking of all the things that they can do with the new baby, Emma becomes excited at the prospect of being a big sister. When her dad comes home and tells Emma that her new brother, Isaac, has Down syndrome, Emma worries that he won't be able to do any of the fun things that she has imagined. As Emma and her dad think back over all the things they wanted to do with the new baby, they realize together that as long as they are patient and helped him when he needed it, there wasn't anything he couldn't do. This is a reassuring story for young children bewildered by Down syndrome and what it means for their relationship with their new sibling. This is truly a wonderful story. Your child will ask you why you are crying after you read it to them. Of all the books for this age group, this book is by far the best.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By K. Shall on May 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover
As we prepare our two young children for the birth of their brother with Down syndrome, I have searched for a book to help introduce the topic. This one received such great reviews that I ordered it. When it arrived, I was disappointed to see the perspective from which it is written. The young child in the story (upon hearing that her brother has Down Syndrome) immediately assumes the worst about her brother -- thinking "he will never do this or this or this," and the parent reassures her that he will. My question is, what young child would hear the words "Down syndrome" and immediately have that perspective?? Especially a pre-school child (the targeted audience in the story). It's an adult perspective to worry about what the child may "never do," not a child's. My five year old has no assumptions about his new baby brother. Why should I plant the idea in his head? I'd prefer a book that just focuses on what the baby will do, without planting seeds of doubt first. Unfortunately, I won't be using this book as planned. If my child ever does begin to worry about his brother's abilities, it would be a fine resource, but it's not the book to use for a first impression.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By kyouell on September 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book while pregnant because I'm sure that someday my daughter will have questions about her big brother who has Down syndrome. I'm hoping that this book will help both of them understand why when the day comes that she is able to do things that he hasn't learned yet. Being only 23 months apart, I felt the need to be prepared as soon as possible.

This is a beautiful book that very sweetly explains that delays don't mean that someone will never be able. I like the fact that this book doesn't dwell on the negatives of a Down syndrome diagnosis, but also includes the idea that Mom & Dad may be sad. I hope that my daughter someday cherishes the book and why I bought it for her.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Pat on November 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book for my 6 year old niece who has a younger sister with Down Syndrome. So far everyone she has shown this book to has bought it.
It's a wonderful book and I still can't get through it without crying. Such a simple and compassionate story about a little girl understanding the differences in her brother with down syndrome. A story that involves her father explaining down and a child's simple understanding that her new brother can still do the same things.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By 'Burg Mommy of 4 on July 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book for my daughter, also named Emma, when her brother was unexpectedly born with Down syndrome a year ago. The book accuately describes the feelings my husband and I were feeling, and the concerns I'm sure Emma will have when Jake gets older. (She's only 3 now, but already knows there is something different about her best playmate) From the moment we first read it to her, it became her favorite book. She calls it her "special book" and asks us to read it to her often. I even have had mothers at church borrow it so they can read it to their children to explain to them what Down syndrome is, and how Jake will be affected.

I love this book, and its overall message - that Jake may not be able to do all the things other babies his age are doing at the time, but he will in his own time, and he just might need a little help.
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