I think I fell in love with this book the moment I spied the little boy on the cover with the “deer-in-the-headlights” expression on his face.
Horatio Humble Beats the Big D, by Margot Finke, is a book about a little boy with a BIG challenge. Horatio is a whiz in school…in Math and History, that is. But Reading? Not a chance! For Horatio, words come tumbling out like an “alphabet salad,” and any attempt at reading leaves his classmates sniggling and Horatio in an embarrassed funk. In fact, he makes such a mess of reading, he’s sure he’ll be grounded for life.
But a parent-teacher meeting is eventually scheduled, and…that’s when he hears it; a new word, funny-sounding and a little scary! The word is “dyslexia,” and apparently, Horatio has it!
Now that Horatio’s problem has a name, things should be easy-cheesy-Louise-ee, right? Wrong! Because Horatio discovers that addressing the problem means going to the special class…and there’s no way he’s going there.
Horatio Humble Beats the Big D has it all: It’s relevant, it’s age-appropriate, the characters are realistic, and the setting is only too real. As a former Special Education teacher of over 15 years, I’ve observed and worked with more “Horatio’s” than I can count: Anxious to excel, afraid to be put on the spot (when reading), and furious at being assigned to the special education room.
Finke’s knowledge of her subject matter and skill in writing shines in this book, and I believe Special Education teachers and Reading Teachers everywhere would do well to have a copy or two at their disposal. Illustrator Ellen Gurak hits the mark with Horatio’s expressive face, and I love – and pity – his bewildered eyes as he gazes in fear of the humongous stack of sinister books that crowd around him, waiting to be read. But I also love the expression of love and relief on Horatio’s mother’s face when she finally learns that her son’s problem has a name.
Finke includes tips on how to help your dyslexic child thrive at the end of the book. She also includes common symptoms to watch for if you believe your child may be dyslexic, and “definitive” articles you can read to become more knowledgeable on the subject. But that’s not even the best part of this wonderful little book: Finke also provides a link that readers can click to hear Finke herself reading excerpts from the book! How cool is that?
Here it is, just for you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7WaY4qTpuQ
For a wonderful read about a confused but courageous little boy with a big, BIG problem, pick up a copy of Horatio Humble Beats the Big D.
Best wishes and happy alphabet salad…I mean, reading!
PICTURE BOOK DEPOT