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My Brother Sammy Hardcover – February 1, 1999
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From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 2-The narrator of this picture book longs for a brother who can talk to him, build towers with him, and join his friends at play. His autistic brother Sammy mimics his speech, knocks down his building blocks, and lies alone on the grass staring at the leaves on trees. When the older boy tries doing and seeing things Sammy's way, a special relationship develops between them. Somewhat indistinct watercolor illustrations, many double-paged, enhance the sensitive tone of the story. A good choice for sharing with children who have "special" siblings and for discussions on feelings.
Sally R. Dow, Ossining Public Library, NY
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
About the author: Becky Edwards is a teacher who has specialised in teaching autistic children. She lives in Chichester with her husband and two young children. About the illustrator: David Armitage has been working as an illustrator for almost thirty years. His most well known books are the Light House Keeper books which are published by Scholastic and have been in print for over twenty years. David lives in Sussex and divides his time between fine art, illustrating and publishing the schools magazine Aquilla. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Although the word Autism is never directly stated, I believe the author intended to explain it in a developmentally appropriate way. In my opinion, she accomplished this goal. The book may be especially helpful with younger children. Those who are still in Piaget's preoperational stage will easily relate to the narrator's egocentrism. As a pre-service teacher, I intend to use this book when I have my own classroom. Even if there is not a student with a disability in the class, chances are most students have encountered a sibling, friend, or relative with a disability. They most likely have questions and feelings that should be addressed. This book would be a great way to spark a discussion about not only autism but other special needs. It really spoke to all disabilities by driving home the point that different is not always a bad thing.
The only aspect of this text I did not enjoy was the illustrations. They are very soft and calming, but I would have liked to be able to see the expressions on the character's faces. They are not very clear on a few pages. Facial expressions with more clarity would allow students to empathize with the characters a bit more.
I cried after reading My Brother Sammy the first time and still get emotional when I peruse through the pages. My seven-year old thought the kids had orange faces and did not like some of the illustrations, especially when Sammy was angry.
The illustrations of Sammy blended with the background, making it seem as if he was part of the scenery at times. I believe this was done to show how autistic children tend to drift away from crowds, preferring to stay in their own world.
The story begins with the narration of the older brother offering insight to the differences between his day and his brother Sammy. Within each example the explanation is the same, " My mom says it's because he's special."
The text on the page of Sammy nestled in the leaves of the trees' mentions how embarrassed his brother is for he wishes Sammy would just join in his games. The following page really captures the intent look on Sammy's face as he watches sand pour out from his hands while in the sandbox. His older brother is building castles and tunnels wishing Sammy would build creations with him instead.
Sammy repeats whatever his brother says to him so he will say " Hello, Sammy" right back to him without knowing any other way. Just like the book Ian's Walk the sibling finally seems to understand autism and enters the world of the autistic sibling.
At times while reading through My Brother Sammy I felt the collages of color were distracting as did my son. I would have rather had less emphasis on the special aspect of being different and more on what exactly is autism with some of the symptoms and how they fit into the world Sammy lives in. It certainly seems to be catching on to the siblings of autistic children that in order to converse with the sibling you need to get to their level, instead of trying to draw them out and force them into a world they cannot adjust to.