I was pleased to be asked to review Look at Me Look at Me (2016, PuppyDucks Publishing) by Sophia Gallagher and illustrated by David Cruz. This children’s book is full of colorful illustrations and a variety of strategies for helping children with autism maintain eye contact.
Readers meet David the Puppyduck who learns the importance of making eye contact so that others know when he is happy or sad. With its upbeat tone, Look at Me Look at Me permits readers to learn about fun ways to practice making eye contact and ends with a promising message of resilience and success.
The wife of a school psychologist, I appreciate that books like Look at Me Look at Me are out there. I love the playful illustrations of David the Puppyduck. Kids can learn about themselves or their classmates through the book’s animal characters. (Helping children learn through animals is also a technique used in Little Meerkat’s Big Panic.) And the empowering message that children with autism can achieve success is a powerful one. There is some part of me that wanted more of a plot. I think there could have been a way to convey the importance of eye contact with a more structured plot. Whereas I am not sure if this book will have broad readership in the elementary school classroom because of its overtly didactic message, I think that parents, therapists, school counselors, and school psychologists might have success in sharing this book with kids with autism (who very well might benefit from the book’s explicit nature). The strategies in the back of the book will also provide adults with many ideas for how to help kids with autism make eye contact.
Let me know what you think of Look at Me Look at Me in the comments below!