Stewie Boom! and Princess Penelope: Handprints, Snowflakes, and Play-dates Review
Since April is Autism Awareness month, I thought it fitting to include a review of a children’s story about a playdate with a child on the spectrum.
While I have received a copy of this book to facilitate this review, all opinions are solely my own.
Stewie BOOM! And Princess Penelope- Handprints, Snowflakes, and Play Dates is written by Christine Bronstein. Ms. Bronstein has a small series of books about the BOOM! Family. This was my first exposure to the series, and I confess it has left me quite curious to check out the other stories!
As an Autism mom, I have had the difficult experience of having to explain my child’s behavior, reactions, and coping mechanisms to plenty of children and adults. As you can imagine, it is often difficult to address all possible situations prior to a playdate.
In fact, many teachers who have been taught about special needs often find it difficult to understand that certain behaviors are inherently related to Autism. I think it is often overlooked especially when the child has no physical signs of disability.
The book opens with Princess Penelope talking about her family and how they are each different (but like some of the same things).
Then, Princess Penelope’s teacher talks to her students about understanding and appreciating each individual as unique. The teacher’s approach was very encouraging and made me realize how simple it can be to teach youngsters about our individual personalities (i.e. our differences).
The teacher first engaged the children in activities to make snowflakes and handprints to see how each was different even though they kind of looked alike. Then, she asked the children to play with a student with which the child normally did not play.
Of course, Penelope played with Eric, a little boy on the Autism spectrum. Mrs. BOOM! then invites Eric to a playdate at the family home.
I was quite impressed by the level of preparation the family took to make the visit successful including practicing their soft voices. I hate spoilers so I will let you discover the outcome and compromises of the playdate on your own.
Beautifully illustrated pictures which represent multi-cultural diversity.
Flowing prose which centers on the premise that everyone is unique. I really enjoyed that this story could easily be about any difference and not just about Autism.
Beyond inclusion, the story promotes acceptance, respect, and understanding. The story helps young children learn to think about others.
This book introduces children to the concept of body language and reading emotions through one’s body language.
The story was very relatable and showed how compromise can be a part of ANY playdate or daily life.
As an Autism mom, I especially enjoyed the tips section. Ms. Bronstein has kindly included tips for both special needs families and those hosting the special needs child.
As well, there is a goal sheet and an award for your child to earn.
Some words would be difficult for a young child to read on their own although I believe the child would completely grasp the meaning when read to them. I feel that any parent that chooses to read this story with their child is looking for substance rather than a “reader” for the child to pursue on their own. This is definitely a book which you will want to talk about with your child.
As an Autism mom, I often struggled with how to approach the subject of a play date and wish I would have had this resource available to me years ago.
I strongly feel that the story can help both parents and children learn to relate to someone who may have other likes and interests. It can help bridge the gap in finding common interests as the message is love and understanding.
The story is a gentle introduction to inclusion and seeing each individual as unique rather than labels such as abled or disabled.
I also love when Author’s take the story beyond the pages. Please visit the website at http://stewieboom.com/ to find activities and more information on the Stewie Boom! Series.
Stewie BOOM! And Princess Penelope- Handprints, Snowflakes, and Play Dates can certainly ease the discussion between parents and children regarding differences in general, but I love that it focuses on the often unseen condition of Autism. You can find this book and other BOOM! family books on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.