'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 21 March 2016

Review: Annabel's Dance

A mob of sheep lived on a farm high in the mountains. They all looked the same with neat, cream-coloured wool. They all stood together in the fields in cold weather to stay warm. They all lined up when they were supposed to when it was time to shear their wool.

Well, most of the sheep did those things. One sheep, Annabel, had wild and untamed wool the colour of mud. She didn’t seem to enjoy the same things as the other sheep and she definitely didn’t want to be shorn.

Annabel manages to avoid shearing time for several years, but eventually she can no longer hide. Will she be able to cope with the noisy, buzzing shears so that she can be wool-free and comfortable again?

Annabel’s Dance is the story of a sheep who is just a little bit different. She wants to be with the other sheep, but she doesn’t quite fit in and she finds some of the things they enjoy a little bit difficult or unpleasant.

Parents with children on the autism spectrum or with ADHD or ADD may recognise some of Annabel’s quirks. There are some sounds, textures and smells that Annabel finds difficult to deal with. She really does want to be with the other sheep, but loud noises and crowded spaces make her feel uncomfortable and the buzz of the shears is unbearable.

Author Diane Jackson Hill has created a lovely story that introduces a very likeable character in Annabel. You can’t help be drawn to her bravery and unique personality. Lois Bury’s illustrations complement the story perfectly and children will love Annabel’s vibrant splotchy wool, which contrasts nicely with the smooth, cream wool of the other sheep.

Told with warmth and humour, Annabel’s Dance is a story that reminds us that sometimes some people (or sheep) find things challenging that most of us hardly notice. With a little bit of kindness and encouragement (and maybe a special pair of noise-filtering headphones), everyone can find their place in the mob.

Annabel’s Dance is a lovely story for all young children, but it is likely to be especially appreciated by children who have sensory hypersensitivity. It is a fantastic resource for preschool and kindergarten classrooms.

Title: Annabel's Dance
Author: Diane Jackson Hill
Illustrator: Lois Bury
Publisher: Wombat Books, $24.99 RRP
Publication Date: 1 February 2016
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781925139358
For ages: 4+
Type: Picture Book