Some books are easy to fall in love with, and The Bravest Boy I Ever Knew, by author Lisa Eichlin is one of them.
In the book, a precocious little boy named Michael tells readers all about his brave best friend; how he can’t play any sports but he can tell you anything you want to know about any team; how he gets tired easily and his legs don’t always cooperate, yet he never complains; and how he needs a wheelchair to get around, but doesn’t care what others think.
Michael has lots of praises for his best friend, and what he doesn’t get around to saying, artist Benton Rudd “tells” with cutesy, colorful illustrations that both entertain and move us at the same time. For example, there’s a drawing of Michael and his best friend on his dad’s boat, with Michael splashing in the water and his friend fishing quietly from his wheelchair. I was moved that the friend must be content to watch the others swim while he fished from his chair, yet I couldn’t help but admire his gusto for life. There are other drawings too, like Michael pushing his friend’s wheelchair up a ramp and Michael racing his best friend – and losing – in the process. Those pictures prove that whatever limitations the best friend has, he’s still leading a healthy, happy life.
In other words, The Bravest Boy I Ever Knew is the story of how a “disabled” boy is not really disabled at all; how’s he just like Michael, only his bravery, wit and determination makes him so much more.
As you can probably tell, I love this book. It’s brief, relevant and to-the-point, and Eichlin’s skill and Rudd’s bright and optimistic drawings make for a truly inspirational read. I’m giving it 5 Stars.
If you’re looking for a “boy” book, a book for the exceptional classroom, or a book to spark a discussion with your own child, be sure to pick up a copy of The Bravest Boy I Ever Knew.
Best wishes and happy reading,
PICTURE BOOK DEPOT