Debut author Workman tackles the challenging topic of befriending a child with autism in this sympathetic and triumphant, if amateurishly illustrated, picture book.
Lucy, who is 8 years old, is eager to make friends with the new kid at school, and she quickly compliments his wonderful drawing. When the boy, Daniel, ignores her, she gets angry and can’t understand why he won’t talk to her. After her teacher explains autism, Lucy tries again, this time talking to Daniel’s aide. Lucy’s friends Sophia and Flynn don’t understand her interest in Daniel, and when the other kids at school laugh at his strange behavior, Lucy decides to stick up for him. That’s the beginning of their friendship, and after that, they spend more time together. She discovers how much she and Daniel have in common, and she learns about Daniel’s amazing memory. Lucy invites her classmates to her birthday party at a water park, where she talks Daniel into going down the waterslide with her. Encouraged by his mother, Daniel has a fantastic time. The experience breaks down the barrier between Daniel and the other kids, and suddenly, Lucy’s classmates don’t find him so weird any more. After the party, Sophia and Flynn realize what Lucy has known all along: Daniel is amazing. Lucy is a brave protagonist who is willing to support a friend no one else understands. Daniel is harder to identify with, but Lucy’s belief in him is clear and inspiring. What appear to be ink-and–colored-pencil drawings (by illustrator Raynes) feature a diverse array of children with different ethnicities, dress styles and interests, heightening the idea that while all the kids are different, they can all find ways to have fun together. However, the characters, which have strangely large eyes and lips, look odd and unpolished.
Imparts a message of inclusivity; may help those struggling to understand friends on the autism spectrum.