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Summary: Howard is happy with his life and its routine. Then one day, he saw a face outside his bowl. First he was unsure, then he was scared, then he was happy. Soon, seeing that face and looking beyond his bowl became part of his day, too. This is a picture book written with children of Autism in mind. It can also be an easy reader.
Type of Reading: family reading, anytime reading, playtime reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 2 to 7; read yourself: 7 to 10
Interest Level: 2 to 9
Reading Level: 2.8
Age of Child: Read with a 6-year-old girl.
Young Reader Reaction: Our 6 year old thought Howard was cute and liked his expressions.
Adult Reader Reaction: There is a lot to love about Howard the Fish. The simplicity of the illustrations will engage even the youngest reader. The same for the text. It is "comfortable" and also extends the life of the book, making it a nice selection for kids learning to read. At the end of the book is a "know the signs" list about Autism / Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Our daughter is on the Spectrum, and even so, I had difficulty connecting how the story related specifically to autism. either.
Pros: Howard the Fish has bright illustrations and a happy story that will appeal to young readers from toddlers to second graders.
Cons: Some of the self-isolation factors listed in the Spot the Signs for ASD didn't fit with Howard, and we don't know enough about the child to make that determination, either.
Borrow or Buy: Buy. Whether or not you draw out the Autism, this is a nice story to share.
Educational Themes: Ask young readers to "read" Howard's expressions. What do they see? How would they feel? As noted above, this is a picture book that can also be an early reader. Some words may require help (e.g., glorious), but the vocabulary repetition is excellent, and the illustrations can help with decoding.
Notes: The author donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.