With her distinctive animal cast, Carlson tells how Arnie gets a taste of his own medicine after making fun of a new student. Ages 3-8. (May)
- Susie Wilde
Carlson, an ever-popular children's book writer-illustrator, creates Philip, a boy who is wheelchair-confined. Philip has an additional challenge of being new to town. The combination makes him the target of the bullying Arnie, until Arnie falls, breaks his leg and finds himself in a similar situation. Unlike the other children, who don't know how to relate, Philip becomes Arnie's fast friend. Until Arnie heals... then, the reader is as fearful as Philip about the end of the relationship. Carlson keeps the tension going until the final page when we learn that Arnie's friendship is more than disability deep!
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-- The new boy Philip, ``different from most kids'' because he uses a wheelchair, is generally ignored by his classmates because they don't know how to include him in their games. But when Arnie, his main tormentor, falls down the stairs while teasing Philip, the usually able-bodied boy discovers firsthand how hard and slow it is to navigate on crutches. The two develop a friendship as they realize all the things they both enjoy and can share together--birdwatching, reading, watching movies, and playing computer games. When Arnie triumphantly appears at school one day without his cast, he will only return to the baseball diamond if Philip can come along as coach. This is a triumphant ending to a purposeful story that will be welcomed for its lighthearted treatment of a common situation. Carlson's vividly colored cartoon illustrations feature a variety of animals humorously dressed in children's clothes. Children won't miss--but won't mind--the obvious moral. --Ellen Fader, Westport Public Library, CT