Hudson has many interests, but school is a misery for him until he learns to work with his dyslexia.
Tapping into the frustration that many children with undiagnosed dyslexia feel, author Hudson, speaking from personal experience, explains Hudson’s school struggles, especially with spelling tests. Once he is identified and finds the help he needs in a pull-out class, Hudson enjoys school for the first time. Negative subplots, including the mocking of his peers (“Ha ha! Hudson can’t spell!”) and ineffective teaching strategies (holding Hudson in from playtime to work on spelling), give this book a troubling tone. Stylized ink, watercolor and pencil illustrations feature oval-headed people and are sunny and bright. A few examples of British spelling (learnt, spellings instead of spelling, snigger and the lack of periods after “Mr”) and cursive writing in the illustrations make this book a better read-aloud than a selection for independent reading. It’s hard to see how specialist Mr. Shapland’s explanation of dyslexia and brain theory could comfort any child. Children with learning differences just need to know they think differently than some other children and might have to work hard, but they are still very smart.It’s no wonder that Hudson hates school, and it’s hard to see how readers will feel any different. (Picture book. 4-8)