What the Jackdaw Saw was a story originally written in 2012 by Julia Donaldson with a group of 20 deaf children attending a workshop organised by Life and Deaf (a not-for-profit organisation) during her term as Children’s Laureate. This picture book celebrates their work.
The book tells the story of a jackdaw who wants to invite friends to his party. He flies over seaside, farmland, town and forest and spies lots of busy animals and people but wherever he goes he is confused to see a creature touching its head and no one interested in his invitation. After getting stuck in a black cloud during a storm and crashing into a tree he asks a wise owl why no one had warned him. The owl informs Jackdaw everyone was warning him; by touching their heads they were signing danger. Jackdaw quickly learns the sign for party and a new way to communicate his invitation. Soon he has lots of excited guests and his beach party is in full swing.
Nick Sharratt’s bold and colourful illustrations bring the text to life and extra detail, for example hinting at the approaching storm. The repetitive story pattern and rhythm make the book fun to read aloud.
This is an enjoyable story with lots to talk about for both deaf and hearing children. The end papers, with illustrations showing how to sign more words from the story, invite all readers to have a go.