So many great things happen when you share a good book with a child. One way children learn is by seeing how others act or what they say in certain situations. Howard Binkow has dedicated his life helping children learn and feel good about themselves. He is one of the authors of the Howard B Wigglebottom series. I have been given six of the books of this amusing, educational series of picture books for children aged 4 years and up. This review is about the ninth book in the Wigglebottom series entitled, “Howard B. Wigglebottom Blends in Like Chameleons: A Fable About Belonging” written by Howard Binkow and illustrated by Susan F. Cornelison. This book helps children understand learning differences in others. It shows children that we all want to belong with the group and blend in. Kids will learn tips on how to be a good friend and how to make and keep friends.
In a nutshell, the story is about Howard the rabbit, and the new kid in class, Joey the tiger. Joey, the active one, had trouble listening, sitting still, fitting in, making friends, and following the rules. Joey knew he was different and he felt something was wrong with him. Howard, the calm and quiet student, wished Joey would settle down. However he felt sorry for Joey because everyone stayed away from him. One day Joey brought two chameleons to school and they escaped. While Joey was in the principal’s office, Howard had to catch the chameleons but it was too difficult with the way they can change colors and hide.
This adventure with the chameleons gave Howard an idea on how to help Joey “blend in” with the other students to be better accepted and not get into trouble. In the end, Joey explains to his mother how he gets angry and cannot stay out of trouble. She meets with the teacher and a school counsellor and together they draw up a plan to help Joey cope at school. For the rest of the year, Joey was doing better and he felt good about himself. Knowing about learning differences helped him see that with a plan he and others like him could learn to cope in school. Howard was happy to have helped a friend and that school was almost like before.
The illustrator, Susan F. Cornelison, did a wonderful job! The colorful illustrations covering sometimes one and half pages bring the characters to life. The drawings will hold the interest of younger children who are listening to the story. They will help with comprehension and reading of the story by independent readers. The prompts to help find the hidden chameleons give an interactive component to this book.
Children’s Picture Book to Show Learning Differences
I recommend this Howard B. Wigglebottom Blends in Like Chameleons: A Fable About Belonging for home, schools and therapists’ offices. Parents, teachers, and other caregivers will greatly appreciate the two pages at the end, Suggestions for Lessons and Reflections. The authors show how this book can be used to show learning differences. A discussion with children pointing out how Joey learned compared with how Howard needed calm and quiet to learn can also include how others learn by looking at pictures, and some children learn best by stories and songs.
This story also lends itself well to teach about sympathy and empathy using the saying, “Don’t judge the book by its cover.” When Howard got to know Joey better, he started to like him a lot. All children want to belong, to blend in, and to be part of a team and this book opens the door to great discussions on that topic and on respecting social rules.
Readers are invited to visit The We Do Listen Foundation web site. The We Do Listen Foundation is a Non Profit Corporation. They are a group of writers, artists, designers, educators, therapists, parents, and teachers. Many volunteer their time. They create entertaining, educational books, videos, games, posters, and songs that go with the Howard B. Wigglebottom series of books. Children can enjoy the hardcover stories once more on a different medium by watching the animated books on their site. Click here www.wedolisten.org to find
- Information on children with special needs- ADHD.
- Free animated books, games and songs.
- Print lessons and posters from the books.
About the Author Howard Binkow is CEO of the We Do Listen Foundation which creates books, animations, songs, posters, lessons and games to help young children be better listeners, learn important life lessons and feel good about themselves.
Read Special Needs Book Review’s interview with Howard Binkow.
Read review of Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns About Bullies
About the Illustrator Susan F. Cornelison is a full-time, published illustrator of children’s books. Some of the published credits of Susan F. Cornelison include the Howard B. Wigglebottom Series, Fiesta, Heroes of Beesville, and many more.