Princess Katie the Brave: A Story About Living with TSC

Schoolteachers Flinn and Fleury use a story of princes and princesses to introduce children to tuberous sclerosis complex in this child-friendly debut.
Princess Katie lives with her younger sister, Princess Sydney; her father, the King; and her mother, the Queen. Her life is mostly normal for a fairy-tale princess, as she lives in a castle, rides a pony and has tea parties. She also goes to school at the Royal Academy with many other princes and princesses, and takes part in fun extracurricular activities, such as swimming and ballet. But unlike her friends, Katie has to go to the doctor’s office frequently to get blood tests, ultrasounds and MRIs. Her parents explain to her that the reason for the visits is tuberous sclerosis complex, a disease she was born with that causes her body to work differently than other kids’. Although the symptoms vary, Princess Katie sometimes has seizures, which she likens to scary, unpredictable dragon attacks. She also needs extra help at school sometimes, and although she likes to play with other children, she occasionally has a hard time understanding her peers. A picnic with other kids who have TSC helps Katie understand that her disease isn’t something to worry about—it’s just something that makes her special. Flinn’s use of princes and princesses to stand in for ordinary girls and boys wears a bit thin, as she changes little about her characters’ world aside from adding the title “Royal” to the hospital and school settings. However, the conceit may work for children who gravitate toward princess stories and fairy tales. Fleury’s sweet illustrations present a range of skin tones and positive depictions of differently abled children. Although the pages are text-heavy, the vocabulary is manageable for newly independent readers. Overall, this depiction of TSC will help children to gain a sympathetic understanding of a rare disease.

An appealing introduction to TSC through a fairy-tale lens.

Pub Date: June 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-1499296563

Page Count: 32

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2015

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A story with a tried-and-true plot that needs to freshen up its presentation.

The Lost Little Rabbit

A lost bunny searches for his mother in this debut picture book.

The youngster is already lost in the beginning of Lakhiani’s version of the time-honored tale of a lost child reuniting witha parent. On a foggy day, a young rabbit finds that he doesn’t recognize where he is. He calls for his mother, but instead of her voice in response, he hears the hum of a bumblebee. The nameless little rabbit asks if the bee knows where his home is, but the bee doesn’t and sends him on to the wise owl, who “sees everything.” As the little rabbit runs through the “eerie” fog toward the owl’s tree, he meets a kind squirrel. “I’ve lost my mother….I am lost and scared,” explains the little rabbit. The squirrel leads the rabbit to the wise owl’s tree, which the rabbit climbs to ask the owl, “[C]an you see where I live?” The fog is too thick for the owl to spot little rabbit’s home, so he gives the little rabbit a snack and invites him to rest. Falling asleep, the little rabbit dreams of his mother but is awakened by the hooting, buzzing and chattering of his three new friends. Looking around, he sees his mother, who embraces him: “I will never again let you out of my sight,” she tells him. The digitized art by Adams, some of which is credited to Thinkstock, is in a cartoon style that clearly delineates the characters but includes a few anthropomorphic details—a graduation cap for the owl, spectacles for the squirrel and only four legs for the bee—that add little value. Since the story centers on the little rabbit failing to recognize where he is, the choice to make the right-hand page of every spread identical is potentially confusing; regardless, it’s repetitious. The text fails in the opposite direction: It doesn’t create the typical patterns that can help toddlers follow the story, build anticipation and learn to chime in—steps on the path to reading alone. Erratic rhythms, changing stanza lengths and rhyme schemes, and awkward syntax undercut attempts to enliven the tale with poetry.

A story with a tried-and-true plot that needs to freshen up its presentation.

Pub Date: May 8, 2014

ISBN: 978-1491895603

Page Count: 24

Publisher: AuthorHouseUK

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2015

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An excellent introduction to the Kenyan culture for children.

If You Were Me and Lived in ...Kenya

A CHILD'S INTRODUCTION TO CULTURES AROUND THE WORLD

Roman (If You Were Me and Lived In…Norway, 2013, etc.) offers a children’s primer of the geography, sports, food and vocabulary that Kenyan kids encounter in their daily lives.

The latest installment in this cultural series—preceded by books on Mexico, France, South Korea and Norway—takes young readers to the African nation of Kenya, where they get a short, engaging lesson on the country’s culture. The opening phrase “If you were me…” helps kids imagine a narrator not much different from themselves. Their Kenyan counterpart lives with their parents (“If you needed your mommy, you would call for Mzazi. When you are speaking to your daddy, you would call him Baba”), buys milk from the market and pays for it “with a shilling,” eats snacks (“samosa, a small triangular pastry filled with meat or vegetables and fried in oil”) and goes to school. The book covers Mombasa Carnival, a large yearly festival, and discusses its importance. It also explains the basics of cricket, a popular sport in Kenya, and the fact that kids usually entertain themselves with handmade toys. Roman’s books are successful since she draws connections between cultures while maintaining a tone that keeps young readers engaged. Colorful illustrations further enhance the text, such as one showing kids playing with cricket bats. A glossary at the end offers a pronunciation key for the unfamiliar words throughout. This series of books would be a natural fit in school classrooms and would also provide a good way for parents to teach their own kids about the cultures, languages and geography of different countries. This installment is a quick read that may help kids see the similarities between themselves and their Kenyan peers.

An excellent introduction to the Kenyan culture for children.

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2013

ISBN: 978-1481979917

Page Count: 30

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 6, 2014

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