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Talking is not my thing
2020
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Publishers Weekly Review
Robbins winningly celebrates the unconditional bond between two animal siblings in this sensitive, matter-of-fact depiction of neurodiversity, a follow-up to Me and My Sister. "I don't speak, but my brother finds it easy," opens nonverbal Sister via thought bubble, as she and her brother embark on their nighttime routine. First is dinner, an overwhelmingly noisy affair that leaves Sister wishing she could "turn my ears off." "But I still like to feel included," she thinks when her brother invites her to watch TV. After a bathroom break (communicated simply by Sister via flashcard), the siblings play a guessing game ("Purple turtle!" he says, recognizing her drawing), and he reads her a story. Their supportive dynamic continues as they goof around while brushing teeth, tension only introduced when Sister discovers her stuffed bunny is missing. Luckily, a frenzied search of the yard (with Brother wielding a flashlight) saves the day, and the pair head to sleep after a sensory-friendly high five. Employing bright colors and childlike slice-of-life drawings, Robbins successfully portrays a loving family dynamic that takes everyone's needs into account. Ages 3--7. (Sept.)
School Library Journal Review
K-Gr 2--A brother and sister manage to communicate despite the fact that she never speaks. Yellow animal characters with pointy ears--not quite dogs, not quite cats--have a wonderful rapport based on her thought bubbles and his intuitive understanding of her wishes and acquiescence. They experience situations and emotions common to young children; she lets others know what she's thinking and feeling through drawings, flash cards, and actions. Cartoon illustrations with flat perspective and blocks of color work well to portray familiar activities such as eating supper, watching TV, and reading a story. The drama comes in the common bedtime dilemma of searching for a "lost" stuffed animal. The sister's distress at dinner noises and preference for routine hint at her possible place on the autism spectrum, while her solid relationship with her brother includes the ability to share a joke. For more on his perspective, consider Robbins's companion volume, Me and My Sister. VERDICT This matter-of-fact depiction of siblings with different ways of communicating and interacting with the world will encourage acceptance and understanding. A fine choice for most collections.--Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State Univ. Lib., Mankato
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