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We'll Paint the Octopus Red Hardcover – 1998
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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.
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