A perfunctory story barely masks a corrective agenda for children with major or minor attention issues.
Being given to daydreaming about expeditions to Mars and other locales rather than watching the time or staying on task at school, Sam is continually exhorted to “Focus!”—which makes him feel “frustrated, sad and dumb.” When his (apparently single) father takes him to a doctor, he unhesitatingly unloads on her. In return, he gets a prescription to lay off junk food, organize his possessions, move his school desk away from the window, and ask for help from others but also not to stop exercising his “awesome” imagination. And, shades of Leo the Late Bloomer, “then one day…Sam got to school on time with his homework!” And soon he’s doing well enough there that he’s no longer hearing “Focus, Sam!” Carlson illustrates this tidy plotline with cartoon scenes of dot-eyed figures in static poses, and she closes by reiterating the same suggestions for improvement in a note addressed to parents and teachers.
Valid the strategies may be, but it would be hard to present them in a less convincing way; it’s 100 percent bibliotherapy. (Picture book. 6-9, adult)