Review Blog

Mar 01 2013

Words get knotted by Pippa Sweeney

cover image

Bloomsbury, 2012. Unpaged. Hardback picture book.
Suitable for ages 6+. The subject of this book is dyslexia, which is defined as 'a difficulty with words'. The author, Pippa Sweeney wrote this book to help children, their families and friends to better understand the condition. She has dyslexia herself, as does her elder daughter, and she tells us about the hereditary links in this condition.
The stage for this tale is set by using the analogy of words and writing being like wool and knitting. When you have dyslexia your words get knotted just like wool can become knotted. The analogy contributes to the lovely quirky feel about this book.
There are naive, colour illustrations predominantly created with wool, which give the illustrations a collage effect. They tie in beautifully with the analogy described above and the 'knotted' title. The design and format have been well thought out and the pages are never crowded.
In the back of the book there is Further information (via websites) and About the author. Also included are Ten tips for parents, which focus on making learning as active as possible eg No. 5 'Make cakes and cookies with your child' (weighing ingredients, placing them in separate containers, providing simple instructions to read together with your child), which sounds like fun.
The author also gives many suggestions to teachers for ways to help children with dyslexia eg colour tints to help reading, computer games, tape record your stories. Children are advised not to worry 'if you write something differntly each time, diferently each time, differently each time.' They are encouraged to ask for help from family members and teachers, who can explain to them what is happening.
M. E. Strickland

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