STRETCHING OURSELVES

KIDS WITH CEREBRAL PALSY

Another outstanding health-related title by the author of I’m Tougher Than Asthma (not reviewed). Here the author explores the daily routines and challenges of three appealing school-age children with cerebral palsy. Emily, Nic, and Tanner, ach speak with a clear, personal voice. Engaging color photographs and the concise text capture the courage and a positive spirit of each of the children “working hard at simple things.” The book begins with an introduction written by Dr. Rebecca Campbell, who describes the three most common types of CP: spasticity (extreme stiffness of muscles and tendons); choreoathetosis (uncontrolled flinging) and hypotonia (floppiness)—and discusses current research on the causes and management of cerebral palsy. Sources of information are provided, including organizations, Web sites, magazines, and books. Emily has the most common type of CP, stiffness of tendons and muscles. As her father helps her exercise, she growls, “Sassafras!” “Rhubarb!” It hurts to stretch, but Emily says it helps her move better. Other photographs show her with her physical therapist, at play with her sister, and greeting friends at school. Nic spends most of his time in a wheelchair. He is shown practicing simple words with his speech therapist, communicating through his laptop computer, riding the school bus, bowling from his wheelchair, and struggling with his walker. Tanner, the least affected by CP, has a slight limp and weakness in one arm. It doesn't stop him from sharing in class or playing football with his brother. Emily concludes with a message to all kids: “Sometimes people are scared or shy because we move or talk funny. But you don't have to be. We like the same things you like.” An important book for sharing. (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-8075-7637-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2000

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CLICKETY CLACK

A train load of wild and wacky animals gets so noisy that the engineer has to shout to get them to quiet down. The little black train picks up yaks, acrobats, a troupe of ducks, and stomping elephants as passengers. But when two mice that are in to fireworks climb aboard, the engineer threatens to stop the whole train. “ ‘Keep it down!’ yells Driver Zach. ‘You’re giving me a headache attack!’ “ Everyone quickly hushes up, and soon, “the only sound you hear, in fact,/is the sound of the wheels on the railroad track. Clickety clack, clickety clack.” The words bounce along to the rhythm of a train on its way, and the swell of the sound effects makes this a joy to read aloud. Spengler’s robust illustrations capture an antic cast of passengers, conveying the action as much through composition as color. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-670-87946-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1999

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HOW MANY CANDLES?

PLB 0-688-16259-2 Time is relative, as Griffith’s pleasingly droll story makes clear, especially when a cat, a dog, a turtle, and a couple gnats get together to compare longevity. The dog, Alex, has made a cake for his friend, Robbie, a boy turning ten who never appears in these pages. A cat notes that Robbie’s years equal about 70 of hers, while a turtle figures that the same number equals about 8 of his years, because he can live to be 100. Two gnats buzz in to check on the doings, and they can’t even begin to comprehend the very notion of ten years—“ ‘Well, they’re gnats,’ said the cat. ‘Ten years to a boy is one billion years to a gnat.’ “ As Alex tries to determine how many candles are needed for each new configuration, the cat sniffs the cake: “This seems to be made of dog biscuits,” and the higher mathematics are put on the back burner while some sheer tomfoolery comes to the fore. This is a delightful exploration of dry humor and number-juggling, accompanied by some elegantly funny artwork. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-688-16258-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Greenwillow

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999

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