Somebody Called Me a Retard Today-- And My Heart Felt Sad

Ellen O'Shaughnessy, Author, David Garner, Illustrator
Ellen O'Shaughnessy, Author, David Garner, Illustrator Walker & Company $13.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-8027-8196-3
Library Binding - 978-0-8027-8197-0
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O'Shaughnessy, trained to teach the mentally disabled, offers a well-intentioned but disingenuous story about how a girl feels when taunted with the label ``retard.'' Readers are never told what her problem actually is--rather, she is presented as just like everybody else: ``I have friends. . . . I work hard in school. . . . I do my very best.'' Naturalistic art might have conveyed the narrator's special situation, but Garner's stylized watercolors--spare figures against white backgrounds--fail to suggest her uniqueness. It's hard to imagine children willing to pretend there are no differences between the ``normal'' and the mentally disabled; asking them to do so seems a curious way to foster empathy. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)
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