Review: Susan Laughs by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross

There’s something very satisfying about a good picture book. With a pre-schooler at home with me all day we get through a lot of books, so I’ve seen hundreds, from dazzlingly brilliant through to terribly dull. There are times when my daughter at I look at each other at the end of a book and shrug in disbelief that a publisher thought it worth printing, and there are times when we read something over and over (and over!) because it’s so good. This particular book is one of the brilliant ones I’m happy to say, and let me tell you why…

Susan laughs. Susan does a lot of things actually throughout this story, like riding on a pony or painting a picture, singing songs, getting scared in bed, playing on a roundabout with her friends, scaring her Granny with a jack-in-the-box. It is only on the very last page that we see that Susan is in a wheelchair, but we read that she is just like me, just like you. I wasn’t sure where the book was going the first time I read it, and I was just enjoying it for the lovely illustrations and simple concepts, so when I turned the final page it came as a surprise and I immediately turned back to the beginning again to look at all the pictures in another light. I actually felt a little emotional, having assumed throughout the story (as you’re supposed to) that Susan is able bodied.

Read the rest of my review for The Bookbag.


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