Josh Funk and Ester Garay
Albie Newton is a thinker, a ‘child genius’ so we’re told, learning a new language almost every week and he also loves to tinker.
The lad starts school mid term and in the hope of making some friends, decides to build a special surprise gift for his new classmates.
It doesn’t take long for the newcomer to start rubbing the others up the wrong way. In addition to shining in all areas of the curriculum,
his behaviour is more than a little disruptive, particularly when he appropriates items from the classroom; and the noises he makes are nothing short of ear shattering.
Albie however, is completely oblivious to the effect of his actions; his social skills are clearly nothing like as developed as his intellectual and inventive ones.
Fortunately for Albie though, one of his classmates, Shirley by name, has been keeping an eye on his secret activities and seems willing to give him a chance. She thinks that perhaps Albie is well intentioned. Can she convince the others to give him the benefit of the doubt?
Perhaps, when they see that special gift he’s constructed …
It will be pretty obvious to adults, especially teacher readers of Funk’s seemingly light-hearted rhyming story, that Albie is wired differently from the other children.
With in-built messages about accepting difference and building empathy emerging, it offers plenty to discuss; and illustrator, Ester Garay ‘s bold bright illustrations have plenty of details to amuse, as well as effectively conveying Albie’s abundance of mental and physical energy.