Ella Hudson is dyslexic, and in this very particular story about the condition, one feels that her surname and the name of the main character are no coincidence. She knows what it feels like to be laughed at by schoolmates, and so does Hudson. Hudson hates going to school because he can’t spell, and one day after a particularly horrid spelling test, he leaves school crying. Mum is sympathetic, but when his teacher suspects the problem and brings in an expert to test him, he shouts, ‘NO MORE TESTS’. And he means it. But these tests are different, and when Mr Shapland explains that Hudson has dyslexia, and that it doesn’t mean he is stupid, he is relieved. In Hudson’s case, his diagnosis means he spends part of his time in school in a different classroom with other children with the same problem, being taught by a special teacher. His self-esteem rockets and he begins to enjoy school.
This is the kind of story that will appeal to all children, not only those with dyslexia. The pictures are fun, quirky, full of square children with unusual feet and peculiar eyes, and there are pug dogs galore as well as lizards hiding in all sorts of strange places. The emphasis is on Hudson’s creativity, and the explanation of how he uses his brain differently helps this along. A fine classroom book.