Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Little Senses: Nope. Never. Not for me! and This beach is loud! by Samantha Cotterill

These two titles are part of a new series of picture books for "wonderfully sensitive kids." They are fun stories that depict protagonists on the autism spectrum or with sensory issues interacting with the world.

In Nope. Never. Not for me! a little girl (identified as such in the publisher's description) wears a dinosaur cape and hood and dinosaur pajamas as she has a meltdown over trying a new food, broccoli. After lots of dramatic yelling and flinging herself on the floor, her mom gives in gracefully, saying "Oh well, then... Not every dinosaur likes trees." The girl perks up immediately and cautiously tries it... only to realize she really, really doesn't like broccoli! She's sad that she's not a brave dinosaur after all, but her mother gentle explains that she's a brave "try-ceratops" and the girl tries out a lot of different foods, a little at a time, discovering new things she likes. Both mother and child are white with black hair and a little brother, also white, shows up on the last page. The girl's "try-ceratops" chart, with pictures of food that she likes and food that she doesn't is something that may appeal to parents with kids who have difficulty trying new foods.

In This Beach is loud! a brown-skinned boy eagerly wakes his dad up at 4am, ready for a day at the beach. He's got Sharkie, everything packed, and even manages to get dressed after a struggle with tags and itchy clothing. His enthusiasm lasts until they arrive at the beach, accompanied by a stream of chatter... only to discover that the beach is loud, crowded, and just too much! His dad gently coaxes him to a quieter spot, but there's sand on everything and he just wants to go home. Fortunately, his dad knows just what to do and with some familiar rituals the swirling explosion of noise and sensation calms down and the little boy manages to enjoy his beach trip after all, regaling his dad with excited chatter all the way home.

Cotterill's charcoal and ink prints, especially in the second title, show a diverse range of people enjoying the beach and clearly depict the growing wave of sensory input that overwhelms the little boy, dimming his enthusiasm and leading him near a meltdown. The pictures in the first title are simpler, largely showing the main character against mostly plain white backgrounds, with a wide range of facial expressions as she reacts to the new sensations.

Verdict: These books appeal on a range of levels, not only to children with sensory processing issues or autism, but any child who's ever had a bad day or something that's just too much to handle. They offer a gentle story as well as a window and mirror for children to see themselves and others. Not only this, but there's help for parents and caregivers as well, suggesting ways to help children dealing with these issues or encouraging compassion when observing other caregivers dealing with meltdowns. A strong addition to any library or storytime collection.

Nope. Never. Not for me!
ISBN: 9780525553441

This beach is loud!
ISBN: 9780525553458

Published June 2019 by Dial Books; Review copies provided by publisher; Donated to the library

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