Reading is a passion of mine. It's one I have somehow passed on to most of my children. So when I find a book that includes my other passion, Down syndrome, I sit up and take notice.
Recently, I was given a free children's book, Hansel & Gretel, to review. What makes this book different from all the other Hansel & Gretel Books? Hansel has Down syndrome.
The first time I read the book, it was by myself because I didn't want to expose my children to something inappropriate by accident. At first, I was a little bit sensitive about how Hansel reacted and his family's opinion of him, but then I realized that that was the point: depicting some of the misnomers, or poorly conceived notions much of society has associated with Down syndrome.
Then, toward the end, Hansel became a smart, independent thinker with a big heart who was easy to forgive and see others for who they were. Hmm. Sounds about right.
I examined the illustrations, which were actually felt depictions of each scene. Those were absolutely breathtaking and worth examining again. The details were...wow. You've gotta see it to believe it. Whoever made the felt scenery is amazingly talented.
Finally, I presented the book to my 6-year-old daughter. There was too much wording on the pages to maintain Jacob's attention, but Courtney LOVED it. She sat with me as I read the book, then took it from me and "read" it a second time by herself, checking out all the photos.
As a parent with a child with Down syndrome, I would recommend this book. It's not only entertaining, but it's an interesting twist on a classic story that is sure to open many opportunities for dialogue regarding Ds, and to show the world that Trisomy 21 doesn't equate uselessness.