Autistic Planet – Jennifer Elder
I’m not entirely sure who this book is aimed at. It could be autistic children, neurotypical children, or both. I supposed it doesn’t really matter because it seems to be a kid’s story but with an autistic character. Kind of like the sort of book that the teacher might read at the end of the day before all the children went home, with a rhymning style of writing and large illustrations throughout.
There is a bit of the message that autistic children might feel like they come from a different planet, and some of the things written about in the rhymes are what you might call stereotypical of autism (trains, things being on time, only eating crisps, chess), but it seems to me that more than trying to convey any sort of grand message about autistic children, it is just an autistic children’s book. In that respect, it does it’s job very well, and the illustrations are good and complement what is written.
It’s nice to see a book like this, because not every book for autistic children should be centred around explaining autism to them or how to tell other people about their autism. Having books that autistic children can related to that are similar in style and format to books like Room on the Broom or The Gruffalo or The Very Hungry Caterpillar is (as far as I can see) a bit underrepresented in the world of autism literature.
The only gripe I have with this book is it’s price. It’s retailing for £12.99 in hardback and £12.34 Kindle on Amazon, and the book is only 50 pages long. That seems excessively expensive even considering how pricey children’s books can be.
Is it worth reading? Yes, both for an autistic child and for a classroom setting. Not going to suggest it’s worth the £12-£13 new though so I would suggest shopping around or buying second hand.