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Book review: The Silent Sunset

Written by Mike Dorsey
Available from Blackwell's bookshops
Price: £19.95
Ages: 0 to 10

Reviewed by Jennie, who is mum to Olive (5) and Connie (6). Olive is profoundly deaf and wears cochlear implants. She also has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair.

This is a lovely illustrated book, probably suitable for children between the ages of five and seven, depending on ability. Olive liked the pictures and was excited that there was a deaf character, then very excited that the ant had cerebral palsy.

I needed to read the book to Olive, but her older sister read some parts too. Some of the concepts in the book needed simplifying for Olive’s level of understanding, but she especially liked that there was a sunset party.

We have several books with deaf characters in them but don’t have any books with characters with cerebral palsy and it prompted a conversation about it. Olive said, “He’s little like me, but when I’m bigger I can walk.” It made me realise that while we talk about her deafness a lot, we don’t always talk about her physical needs or what might happen in the future. It’s prompted us to bring that topic into everyday conversations in a positive way.

Olive also learned what a sunset is and was excited the next time we saw one so she could tell me!

It was a lovely, calm bedtime book and I’d recommend it to anyone with children with or without additional needs. After we read the book, Olive said she likes seeing deaf people. I think she feels this about her wheelchair too, although the character in the book wasn’t in a chair.