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Review: Point to Happy by Miriam Smith & Afton Fraser

[ 3 ] June 27, 2011 |

Reviewed by Amanda Schafer

Point to Happy is a book designed to be an aid to children with some form of autism. A sturdy, hardback book, it has a large plastic hand (connected to the book by a ribbon) with a “pointing finger” that allows the child to point to the pictures or words as they understand them.

Point to Happy starts out with pictures of faces and feelings, encouraging the autistic child to connect with emotions. It continues with favorite foods, polite words and gestures, noises, games, movement, toys, actions, and even authoritative commands. At the end, there are blank spaces for the parent to place pictures, allowing the autistic child to recognize faces or people they might come in contact with. The pictures are items that are bright and colorful and are real people with genuine expressions.

I read through this book with my son, who is a high-functioning autistic. He was able to work through the book rather quickly, but struggled on a few of the emotion pages. There were a couple of pages that had more than a couple of items on them and he struggled with sorting through all the images presented. Measuring 10 inches by 12 inches, the book is rather large. And being made of such a sturdy cardboard material causes the book to be quite heavy. While the concept of Point to Happy is great and the book can be a very useful tool, our only complaint with it is its size and weight. My son struggled with holding the book and said that it felt like it was digging into his legs when rested in his lap. Since many autistic children struggle with sensory issues, this might be an area that needs to be reevaluated in further prints.

Miriam Smith and Afton Fraser do a good job of including many of the emotional and relational aspects that autistic children struggle with. The photographer, Margo Smithwick, did an especially good job capturing those emotions on camera. I would recommend this book to any parent with an autistic child that struggles with verbal communication and emotional expression.

Rating: 3/5

Amanda lives in Missouri with her engineering husband, two sons, and one daughter. In between homeschooling and keeping up with church activities she loves to read Christian Fiction, Women’s Fiction, and any Chick-Lit. She never goes anywhere without a book to read!

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Workman Publishing Company. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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Category: Ages 12 and Under, Children's Books, Parenting & Families

Comments (3)

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  1. 3
    Deanna Middendorf says:

    I have several friends with autistic children. I am going to pass this along to see what they think. Thank you for your review.

  2. 2
    Carol Wong says:

    It is very difficult to find anything for my brother who is severely autistic. I had added this book to my list for his birthday. The hand thing wouldn’t be a probably with him since he is a grown up. He has learned how to hug but I don’t remember he ever pointing so that would be new for him. Every year, I search for birthday presents and Christmas presents but many of the gifts for people with autism are too complex, more for highly functioning so this is a great find.

    Carol Wong

  3. 1
    Colleen Turner says:

    Wow, it sounds like you were the perfect person to review this book! I wouldn’t have thought about the heavy, awkward size maybe working against an autistic child’s sensory issues. Thank you for your honest, concise review! I have a friend with an autistic child and I will suggest this to her and pass along your statement about its size.

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