CM . . .
. Volume XII Number 5 . . . . October 28, 2005
Today’s schools and classrooms contain children with a much greater range of abilities than was the case in earlier years. And so it is that Lilly, a grade schooler, encounters Davy, a blind kindergardener. Davy wants to do things like other children, and those activities include “seeing” worms and playing soccer, especially scoring a goal. While the title says that “Lilly makes a friend,” there are times when Lilly wishes that she was not Davy’s friend as his behaviors get her into trouble, such as when he takes the worms she has given him to “see” and later places them in the kindergarten girls’ snacks or when he kicks a soccer ball into the belly of another student. Davy’s former act earns Lilly an admonition from Davy’s helper, Mrs. Laski: “You’re older than Davy,” she says. “You should know better than to let him play with worms.” Davy’s ball-to-the-gut kick also generates another reprimand for Lilly, this time from the principal. At the book’s end, Davy accomplishes his goal of scoring his first soccer goal.
While the plot of Lilly Makes a Friend is somewhat thin, the book unobtrusively provides young children with information about the blind, including appropriate etiquette:
Similarly, Bellingham slips in information about adjustments that are made for the blind so that they can play games available to the sighted. (See “excerpt” above.)
Each of the book’s 10 short chapters contains at least one of MacDonald’s cartoon-like, black and white illustrations. Perhaps to underline Davy’s similarities to other children, rather than to point out his differences, MacDonald does not always illustrate Davy with a cane, and he never shows him wearing sunglasses.
Dave Jenkinson teaches courses in children’s and YA literature at the Faculty of Education, the University of Manitoba.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.