Why Johnny Doesn't Flap: NT is OK! ISBN: 9781849057219
Published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2015
This is a wonderful wheeze! The boy who tells the story in the book has a friend called Johnny who is quite different from the narrator. Johnny is neuro-typical, whilst the story teller is autistic. We see Johnny from his point of view, and to him, Johnny is a cause of bafflement. For instance, he likes being with other people, he never 'flaps' when excited, he looks straight into other peoples' eyes, and he isn't an expert on different subjects like World War II or hydraulic trucks like the narrator is. He also doesn't have 'meltdowns' and he seems to have 'problems with communication' - like saying something is 'a piece of cake'. However, our narrator says his mum explains that everyone is different, and just because Johnny is different doesn't mean they can't be good friends. Which they are. The story-teller knows that Johnny is OK whatever their differences are: 'It can be pretty interesting being friends with a kid who is neurotypical. He has a lot of quirks that can be very frustrating until you get used to them.' The funny and clever thing about this approach is that the narrator seems to feel slightly superior to Johnny, and it is interesting and possibly unique in a picture book to show how autistic people look at those of us who don't share their outlook. A brilliant and highly original book with lovely, warm illustrations and would be a great option for schools. Available from Amazon, from good book shops, and from the publisher, www.jkp.com.