Boy. He couldn’t hear so the loud crashing, banging and yelling – it never bothered him. Then he finds himself in the middle of the King, the knights, and the dragon.
Author: Phil Cummings
Illustrator: Shane Devries
ISBN: 9781760277055 Language: English
Themes: communication, disability awareness (deafness), perception
What’s it about?
Boy lives a happy life in his village but the other villagers just don’t know what to make of him. He talks with his parents all the time but the villagers see his hands waving about and don’t get it. At the same time the King and the knights are fighting against a dragon who burnt down all the trees. When Boy wanders off one day he finds himself in the middle of the fighting but what can Boy do when no one understands?
The story is engaging and very well written. Most pages only have 1-2 sentences so this one doesn’t waste time on descriptions and just lets the illustrations do their job. There is a flurry of onomatopoeia in the illustrations which give movement to them.
Move on…nothing here.
I almost didn’t want to read this book when I looked at the cover and saw…two horns on the helmet – Nooooooo! (We all have pet peeves and one of mine is Vikings being portrayed with horns on their helmets). But I must say that I can get away with thinking this is just a story based in a village somewhere and disassociate it from Vikings altogether. Boy won the 2017 Children’s Peace Literature Award and is nominated in the CBCA’s Book Week 2018 Book of the Year: Early Childhood category for Notables.
“The protagonist, Boy, is deaf and communicates through sign-language.”
I’m going to say right off that I really, really liked this book…I actually think I love this book. A bit of history about me: I have been self-teaching myself AUSLAN since I was about 10 – I don’t get a lot of practice with it so it comes and goes. So what does that have to do with the book? The protagonist, Boy, is deaf and communicates through sign-language. This is actually the first book I have EVER seen for children that features such a character (if there are more please do enlighten me in the comments!).
Boy is such an everyday character – he is shown as being no different than any other boy – and when he chases the lizard into the middle of a fight it becomes very clear that communication is a BIG problem in the village and in the fight. I feel that it is the focus on communication that really makes this book stand out and such a good choice for the classroom. How many times do kids (and adults) get into arguments for something perceived rather than the truth of what happened?
This book goes straight to the top of my “I hope it is shortlisted” list – and I’m already working on some activities (because I love this book soooo much). Stay tuned!