Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Invisible Boy

The Invisible Boy
Written by Trudy Ludwig
Illustrated by Patrice Barton
Alfred A. Knopf, 2013. Unpaged picture book.

Brian is the "invisible boy" in school. The teacher doesn't really pay him any mind, because he isn't loud like Nathan, or whiny like Sophie. He simply blends into the background with his quiet nature, doodling away. Most of the children don't even notice Brian, much less invite him to play on recess teams or come to birthday parties. When a new boy moves to their school, things start to change. Justin is different, and the kids initially tease him, too. But then he and Brian become friends and, slowly, the children all start to mingle.

This sweet, subtle picture book shines light on how even the mildest of teasing can have an effect. It's a story told in a gentle way, and in honest language that children will respond to. Barton's artwork is the star of the show here... Her use of details like notebook paper, tape, and eraser marks perfectly create a school environment. Best of all, Brian begins the story in black and white; slowly, color creeps in as other children show him kindness.

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