What to Read After... Judy Blume 20/01/20
Publisher: Hachette Children's Group
'Some children have cats. Some children have dogs. I have a dragon.'
So begins the story of a little boy and his amazing pet. Through gloriously larger-than-life illustrations, we see the pair enjoying all sorts of activities – hide and seek with friends, dancing, going to the library, playing basketball, making music and raiding the fridge. Above all, Zibbo loves going to birthday parties, although in a hilarious final scene we see that he can prove a bit of a fire hazard when it comes to blowing out the candles!
Author-illustrator Steve Antony’s past experience as a part-time support worker in an art college allowed him to get to know a number of disabled students, all of whom who clearly made a significant impression on him, inspiring the wheelchair in this book (although its presence is never mentioned). Antony’s very genuine understanding of the preconceptions that disabled people can encounter ensures that any messages are spot-on; the approach empowering, understated and unpreachy.
This is a rare and perfect example of completely incidental inclusion. It is a delightful story about friendship and being oneself, relevant to any – indeed every – child.
An ordinary-yet-extraordinary picture book that points out that often the least ‘amazing’ thing about a disabled person is that they happen to be disabled.