Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Guest review: "Dyslexia and Horatio Humble," by Karen Cioffi

Title: Horatio Humble Beats the Big "D"
Author: Margot Finke
Illustrator: Ellen Gurak
ISBN: 13: 978-1-61633-101-6
eBook ISBN: 13: 978-1-61633-102-3
Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing

Horatio Humble Beats the Big "D" is a children's rhyming picture book that tackles dyslexia. For those who are unfamiliar with the term dyslexia, according to the Mayo Clinic, it is a brain impairment that hinders the "brain's ability to translate written images received from your eyes into meaningful language." And, it is the most common learning disability in children.

Margot Finke, in her usual insightful and playful way, shows the academic and emotional affects that dyslexia carries with it. Horatio, like all children with dyslexia, wants to read like his peers, but just can't. "Something was wonky within his poor head, so words in his books stayed a mystery instead."

The author captures the emotional impact a child feels when he can't read like others, which leads to: the need for special resources, tutoring, low self-esteem, and even anxiety.

With vivid full page illustrations Finke brings Horatio through the process of 'special class' and shows the outcome that can be attained with proper instruction. "Words came unscrambled and flowed smooth and clear. "

I've mentioned it before, and I'll do so again, I'm a fan of Margot Finke's work. She has a unique talent for approaching topics that children can use help with, such as moving away from familiar surroundings and friends, as in her book Ruthie and the Hippo's Fat Behind, and now with dyslexia. What's wonderful about Finke's books is she addresses these issues with lighthearted rhyming fun.

Horatio Humble Beats the Big "D" is a book every parent of a child who is struggling to read should get. It's important for children to know they're not alone in their struggles, and that dyslexia is a problem that CAN be overcome.

Included at the end of the story is a resource page that provides information on dyslexia and also offers links to pertinent articles, along with book suggestions. Listed in the information is the advice that encourages parents of children who have or are suspect of having dyslexia to let their children know it is not a sign of a lack of intelligence. These children should be told that actors/celebrities such as Tom Cruise, Orlando Bloom, Oprah Winfrey and Magic Johnson overcame dyslexia, as did Bill Gates and Albert Einstein.

According to statistics, one in five students (around 20% of the population) has a language based learning disability. And, less than one-third of the children with reading disabilities receive school services to help with their disability.

Reading Horatio Humble Beats the Big "D" with your dyslexic child is a valuable strategy to help with your child's self-esteem and motivation.

About the reviewer:

Karen is an author, ghostwriter, and freelance writer. She is on the team of DKV Writing 4 U; the creator and manager of VBT Writers on the Move; moderator of a children's writing critique group; and an acquisition editor intern.

Karen is a member of the Professional Writers Alliance; the International Association of Professional Ghostwriters; and the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors. She is also a member of SCBWI, Children's Writers Coaching Club, Writer's Market, Author's Den, and Jacket Flap. Here books include: Day's End Lullaby (a children's bedtime picture book) Walking Through Walls (a middle-grade fantasy chapter book) Writing for Children One Step at a Time (a 100+ page e-book) Writing, Publishing, and Marketing - You Can Do It (a 36 page e-book)

For more on writing, ghostwriting, freelance writing, and promotion visit: While you're there, be sure to sign up for Karen's FREE monthly newsletter, A Writer's World; you'll get TWO FREE e-books on writing and marketing in the process.


Rosi said...

Thanks for this review. I will be picking up this book. I raised a son with dyslexia when there was no name for it. How delightful to find such a resource for other children with this problem.

Anonymous said...

I think this book will help a lot of children understand better what dyslexia is.