Boy: Book Review

Boy by Phil Cummings. This story is nominated in Book Week 2018 Notables - The story of a boy who can't hear but teaches others why communication is important.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.

Title: Boy
Author: Phil Cummings
Illustrator: Shane Devries
ISBN: 9781760277055         Language: English

Classification: Fiction
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.

Boy written by Phil Cummings. The tale of a boy who shows others why communication is so important. // Thoughts
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!

Website of Australian Author Phil Cummings

Website of Shane Devries - Australia illustrator -

Other books by Phil Cummings and Shane Devries

Ride, Ricardo, Ride! A story by Phil Cummings and illustrated by Shane Devries (the same team who also brought us Boy). Click for the review of the book:


  1. March 21, 2018 / 3:38 pm

    Ah Vikings being portrayed with horns on their helmets is one of my pet peeves too ha! This book sounds interesting though – might have to pick it up and have a read 🙂

  2. March 21, 2018 / 10:05 pm

    sounds like an interesting book and it’s really good that the main character speaks in sign language x

  3. March 22, 2018 / 7:05 am

    I’ve never seen a kids book that talks about sign language either! It sounds like a great book.

  4. March 22, 2018 / 9:33 am

    Sounds like a fabulous book one to keep on the list for my boys thanks

  5. March 22, 2018 / 2:32 pm

    Such an important element to include in a book – the sign language that is. Makes it stand out from other books.

  6. March 22, 2018 / 5:24 pm

    The book sounds really interesting, I’ve not heard of books talking about sign language.

  7. March 22, 2018 / 8:23 pm

    I like th story and it is good to know that there ti nothing to be aware of! I think the character is cool as we don’t see many of them in books, right?

  8. March 23, 2018 / 9:44 am

    I haven’t heard of this book before, my children are the wrong age for it but it sounds good x

What do you think?