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White, non-Hispanic children are more likely to be read aloud to every day than either black, non-Hispanic or Hispanic... More

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Author: Jeanne Gehret, M.A.

Illustrator: Michael LaDuca

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Publisher: Verbal Images Press, 2009

Material: hard cover

Summary: Ben's brain is always busy. When he goes on a walk with his sister Emily and his dad, he spots more animals than anyone else. Ben notices everything, but sometimes he forgets things. He's clumsy, too. It is really frustrating. Thanks to Dr. Lawson, Ben learns that his brain doesn't have some of the chemicals it needs. With dad's help, Ben has some ways to make life a little easier and happier. This picture book explains what ADD / ADHD is and offers simple examples to help kids be successful and more confident.

Type of Reading: family reading, playtime reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 8; read yourself: 7 to 10

Interest Level: 5 to 8

Reading Level: 1.6

Age of Child: Read with a 7-year-old girl.

Young Reader Reaction: Our daughter said she could relate to Ben. She talked about some of the things she does to help her brain work better. We read the book once, but she didn't want to read it again. She said the faces were scary.

Adult Reader Reaction: Ben's Dad did an excellent job explaining ADD / ADHD in a way kids will understand. The strategies are also practical and helpful. The story built around those points seems disjointed, like they were "thrown in" because they needed to be. Ben is the narrator, but the author brushes past his feelings (namely his low self esteem), and missed an opportunity. The concept is great, but the story is rushed.

Pros: Kids who see themselves as "less than perfect" [forgetful, clumsy, criticized by siblings all the time] may find a friend in Ben.

Cons: The story tries to cover too much ground and can leave young readers frustrated. Many children like our daughter (who is diagnosed with ADD/ADHD) are very sensitive to faces and facial expressions. Ben, Emily, Mom, and Dad are illustrated with strong features with heads that look disproportionate to their body. Seeing a bird pecking at Ben's hair may be disconcerting to some.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow. The book is a good starting point for helping children understand how their brain works.

If You Liked This Book, Try: MRS. GORSKI, I THINK I HAVE THE WIGGLE FIDGETS (The Adventures of Everyday Geniuses)   SPAGHETTI IS NOT A FINGER FOOD (AND OTHER LIFE LESSONS)   KEISHA'S DOORS / Las Puertas de Keisha (An Autism Story Book 1)

Educational Themes: For kids with ADD, draw out the strategy examples (quiet music, song for routine) to create your own. Give kids - and siblings - a chance to talk about their feelings, too.

Notes: The publicist representing the author donated a copy of this book to the Reading Tub. This is an unsolicited donation.

Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book series, health, illness, family

Date(s) Reviewed: January 2016

Other Reviews: See Critics Reviews at; and reviews and reader feedback at


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