Our book review this week is Chatterbox by Margaret Wild. It has been a favourite in our family for quite a few years. For those of you who have, or have had, a child for whom speech came a little later, this is a book for you. Our book review also includes plenty of discussion ideas for you and your child.
Max’s baby sister, Daisy, can do loads of incredible ‘baby’ things. She can crawl and play and splash and build, but she cannot talk. No matter how hard the family tries to get her to speak, Daisy does not utter a word! Then one day, Daisy opens her mouth and the words start pouring out. Will Daisy ever stop?
Why I love it:
My first born (my daughter) was a late talker. She turned 2 with barely a word. The maternal child health nurse had labelled her ‘developmentally delayed’ and I was having panic attacks! In the back of my mind I thought that one day it might just click and it would all come flooding out, just as it does in Chatterbox. At least, that’s what I hoped.
I actually saw Chatterbox read on Playschool and bought it during the time Nina was non-verbal. It gave me hope and kept me calm. We took Nin to speech therapy and 10 days after I managed to get her to repeat the word ‘Go’, she pointed out the window and said, “Mummy, why do birds’ wings flutter on the breeze?” Problem sorted!
Anyway, the point is, not all children start talking at the same time and a delay, does not mean disaster. These days, my memories of a time where Nina didn’t fill every silence with constant chatter, are as distant as they come, but Chatterbox did help back then, and did turn out to be 100% accurate for us.
Themes to discuss with your child:
- Growth and development
- How everyone is different and there’s no right or wrong way to develop
- The concept of ‘Be careful what you wish for’
- Family dynamics
Questions to ask your child:
- What do you think this book might be about?
- Do you think this is a fiction book (a story) or a non-fiction book (facts)?
- How old do you think the child on the cover is?
- What do you think would be a good name for the child pictured?
- What does the term ‘chatterbox’ mean?
- Why do you think the book might be called ‘Chatterbox’?
- Did you enjoy this book? Why/Why not?
- Why do you think the whole family wanted so much for Daisy to talk?
- List three things Daisy could
- Do you think Daisy was upset that she couldn’t talk? What makes you think this?
- How would you describe how the family felt once Daisy started talking?
- Look at Deborah Niland’s illustrations of the family members’ faces when Daisy won’t stop talking; what expression do they have?
- Has there ever been anything it has taken you a while to work out how to do? Tell me about it.
- What do you think is the overall message of this story?
If you have a suggestion for a book you’d like included in our book review, please let us know.
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