Profound disability is normally a no-no in children’s literature. In this story, Catherine suffered a form of epilepsy as a baby, which has left her unable to talk, look after herself or walk without the aid of special boots. She is also learning disabled. The author’s niece is just such a child, and her understanding of Catherine’s special qualities is the basis for the story. The book’s structure is a conversation between Catherine’s father and her cousin, Frances, who is dismissive of Catherine’s abilities. But Dad points out Catherine’s tiny little silent claps, ‘so quiet that no one has ever heard them’ are special, and he suggests Frances tries to walk in Catherine’s special boots which she is unable to do. Frances continues to query Catherine’s abilities by saying that she can’t talk. Dad says she listens very hard, which most people don’t, and that she particularly likes to listen when her grandmother reads to her. At the very end we see Dad taking Catherine to bed and telling her what a special child she is, and her sleepy response is a tiny, silent clapping. In a short introduction, Jacqueline Wilson says that the book ‘belongs on every nursery and infant school bookshelf’. I agree. Not only is the text superbly and sensitively written, but the watercolour illustrations are an outstanding combination of warmth, love, and understanding.
http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png 0 0 Angie Hill http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png Angie Hill2010-05-01 00:00:442022-03-04 12:59:03Catherine’s Story
Illustrator: Karin Littlewood