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Big Ben ISBN: 9781903015704
Anderson, Rachel and Harker, Lesley
Published by: 
  • Mammoth, 1998 (ISBN: 9780749731625)
  • Barn Owl Books, 2007 (ISBN: 9781903015704)
Matthew's big brother Ben has a severe learning disability. The boys are close, and Matthew has devised all sorts of activities and games that they enjoy together. When new teacher Miss Spark suggests a class project wherein each pupil chooses a person in the community to study, Matthew decides on Ben. However, Miss Spark doesn't know about Ben's disability, and Matthew is loathe to explain. The story is very truthful about neighbours' and classmates' unkindnesses, and one interesting aspect is Matthew's complete acceptance of Ben as he is and his puzzlement as to why others are sometimes unkind. Ben is 17, and it is decided that he must go away to a Sixteen-plus Special Needs Unit where he will learn life skills. Matthew is aghast - they are sending him away! But when he sees that Ben is happy at the unit, when he understands that his parents have more time for him now, he accepts the inevitable and tells Miss Spark about his special brother. In this short book with large print and line drawings, we learn much about what life with a severely disabled sibling is like. Warm and reassuring and not at all sentimental.
Age: 7+