Book Review: Robin and the White Rabbit

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Robin and the White Rabbit

By Åse Brunnström and Emma Lindström

Illustrated by Emma Lindström

42 pages

Published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Publication Date: 21st June 2017

Age range: 6+

Summary (from Goodreads):

In this tale we meet a child sitting alone, feeling unable to join in with the other schoolchildren having fun in the playground. Feeling frustrated and lonely, the child’s emotions build up until they form a bubble around them, separating them entirely. Who can help the child?

Suddenly a White Rabbit appears, who presents easy and playful ways to get the child to express their feelings. Each time the child says what they like and don’t like, it helps to create a hole in the bubble, opening the child up to the wider world.

Through delightful illustrations and photographs, this picture book helps children who struggle with social isolation find a way to communicate with those around them. It can be read by children themselves or with adults as a learning tool, helping children learn to express their feelings through the use of visual communication cards.

The other children were playing football, but Robin sat alone under a tree.

Suddenly a white rabbit appeared.

Books like these are so important, especially with greater inclusion in mainstream schools. The likelihood is that you have a child on the autistic spectrum in your class, or your child will have a classmate on the autistic spectrum. (Find out more about autism here.) Children with autism may struggle to express their feelings in the way we might expect so it is essential for everyone to develop their understanding – books like these help to construct that bridge of understanding from both sides as they create an opportunity for a shared experience through reading.

This book is useful to discuss how people communicate in a variety of ways and to help communicate with children who could struggle to express their feelings in words. I think this book could help other children in the class to understand communicating visually and why that might help some of their classmates when they are struggling to find the right words.

Read it with your class and discuss how understanding goes both ways.

Learn more about the book in the author’s own words here.

Words were tumbling around in Robin’s head.

Robin felt lots of different things at the same time.

Robin wished that someone could understand these feelings.

What I liked: The inclusive message, the book spreads knowledge of autism and helps children and educators understand one perspective better.

Even better if: The illustrations are cute and effective, but not my favourite style. I would have liked to see a strategy for Robin to interact with his or her classmates, building upon the communication with the rabbit.

How you could use it in your classroom: Read it to your class (even if they don’t have a classmate on the autism spectrum). The chances are they will know someone who is, or will in the future. It is important to help children understand that people communicate in different ways and help them learn to be patient with others.

(Thank you to Netgalley and Jessica Kingsley Publishers for my review copy)

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