An earnestly lifeless infodump featuring a child with a spectrum disorder who occasionally misbehaves but, mirabile dictu, can play piano like a pro.
Looking about 10 years old in some of Inouye’s static suburban scenes and younger in others, Anthony is viewed by a sympathetic would-be friend. She models proper responses while explaining that he sometimes screams at loud noises, throws sand, seldom makes eye contact, flaps his hands when he’s happy and just doesn’t get knock-knock jokes. But one day, a grand piano arrives at Anthony’s house, and the narrator is astonished to find him confidently playing “a song I never heard before. Wow! I can’t do that,” she marvels. Children will come away from this with a little more awareness of some common behaviors associated with diagnoses of Asperger’s and similar disabilities, but such information is already widely available in less generic trappings, and Anthony’s musical ability—which springs from nowhere here—isn’t exactly typical.
A worthy topic but no more than a discussion starter, as it’s too bland to make much of an impression on its own. (afterword, with URLs) (Picture book. 6-8)