I really wanted to read this book, because I felt it would be helpful to my son, who is in a similar position to the main character in Paws – Alex, who is eleven, autistic and about to start high school.
The cover of the paperback is gorgeous – a beautiful illustration by Ayesha L. Rubio is of a little boy (Alex) in blue clothes, resting his back against a tree trunk and cuddling his white dog (Kevin), his pet cockapoo.
The book is 237 pages with black and white illustrations inside of balls, bones, collars and so on. The chapters are a good size – not too long, not too short. It looks a fun book that any child would enjoy, but I would say it was aimed at 9-12 year olds.
The story begins on Monday 7th November – “five days to PAWS”. It is written in the first person from Alex’s viewpoint. He lives with his mum, dad and older brother Ned (14) in Jessops Lake, on the Gold Coast of Australia. He doesn’t fit in at school and what he would like most in the world is a real friend. When he finds out that PAWS, the famous dog show, is coming to Jessops Lake, he vows to enter his cockapoo Kevin and win a trophy, believing that will earn him friends.
I loved this book, it is so well written with so many important messages about being different, and accepting others who are different. I also love a book with a dog in and Kevin the cockapoo is adorable. The relationship between Alex and Kevin is beautiful, you can see the bond between them and how it benefits both boy and dog. It is written so realistically, but of course, pets do this job so well, as we know.
My one tiny criticism is that it is set in Australia, so British kids may be unfamiliar with some bits, like the native wildlife. I’ll have to reassure my son that he’s unlikely to come across dangerous snakes and spiders in England!
But there’s so much to love about this book! Not only is it fun, with great characters and an interesting story, but it’s an IMPORTANT book too. The more books we have aimed at children on the autistic spectrum, the better. I think my son will relate to this on so many levels and it is vital that books contain characters that every child can relate to.
Alex’s best friend is Kevin the cockapoo, although what he wants most of all is a friend at school. A charming and gentle story about how life isn’t one size fits all.
Everything is changing for 11-year-old Alex and, as an autistic person, change can be terrifying. With the first day of high school only a couple of months away, Alex is sure that having a friend by his side will help. So, he’s devised a plan – impress the kids at school by winning a trophy at the PAWS Dog Show with his trusty sidekick, Kevin. This should be a walk in the park … right?
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