In this debut children’s book, a young bunny and his parents deal with his diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder.
Floppy Lop-Ears is just an average young bunny—every day, he puts on his favorite outfit and eats Hunny Bunny cereal before school. He likes all of his school subjects and he eats green gelatin every day at lunch. But when his Hunny Bunny cereal, favorite outfit and green gelatin aren’t available, Floppy feels his tummy harden, and he starts to get upset and throw fits—for which he is frequently teased at school. When Floppy’s parents take him to a special doctor, they learn he has autism spectrum disorder. The doctor explains to Floppy and his parents that Floppy’s brain just works a little differently than others and that it’s just fine to be different. But Floppy doesn’t want to stand out from the kids in his class, so he tries to find ways to get “off the spectrum.” Through conversations with his parents and his classmates, Floppy learns that his atypical characteristics make him unique. Flynn’s exceptional viewpoint as both doctor (she is a board-certified pediatrician) and patient (she was diagnosed with ASD) makes this book even more important. Instead of talking at the child or parent reader, Flynn speaks from a place of deep knowledge and experience. She recognizes that there are many parts to ASD, and while some aspects may be perceived to be negative, Flynn notes, through Floppy’s doctor, some positive qualities: Children and adults with ASD are “good at noticing little details” and memorizing information. This work shows children that it’s OK to be nervous or afraid about their diagnoses—their parents and doctors will be there every step of the way. And for parents, Flynn goes so far as to include a description of her own experiences with ASD. She provides notes on suggestions and ways to talk about ASD, along with resources. It’s also worth mentioning that illustrator Allen’s sharply drawn images are a bright, fun addition to a work with rather serious subject matter. For recently diagnosed children, along with their friends and parents, this book is a great resource.
An important, accessible take on understanding autism spectrum disorder.