Aug 02

What’s Wrong with Timmy?

Posted by Soliloquy in Children's Books | Intellectual Disabilities | Physically Disabled


When little Kate goes to the park with her mother, she notices a boy named Timmy, whose look and behaviour is different from the other kids. The more Kate stares, the more uneasy she becomes. Whats wrong with him? she asks. Then her mother begins a conversation that helps Kate learn something about what its like to be disabled. And when Kate approaches Timmy, she finds out that they have more in common than she would have imagined. A friendship blooms, and Kate discovers for herself that while T…

Read more about What’s Wrong with Timmy?.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

5 Responses

  • Anonymous says:

    Review by for What’s Wrong with Timmy?
    I liked this book. Maria Shriver did a good job in making a little boy with Down Syndrome come to life, and it is a book that is certainly worth reading with your child aged 4-10. Still, there were things that I would do differently. For openers, many books like this tend to over-idealize the disabled person who is the main character. Timmy is no exception. Yes, there are many children with Down Syndrome who can play basketball and have the vocabulary that Timmy has. But there are also many children (including my own non-verbal son) who do not. I thought that Ms. Shriver could have at least mentioned that there are people with more severe cognitive/speech disabilities even if Timmy is not one of them. I DID appreciate the fact that she noted that “there were tears when Timmy was born.” But at the end she decides that there is nothing wrong with Timmy afterall, and that was a little too corny for my taste. Also, in one part of the book she talks about how kids at school tease Timmy and call him “stupid” or “retard.” Perhaps I am being naive, but many schools have moved way beyond treating disabled students like this. I would like to invite Ms. Shriver to my child’s own elementary school, where the kids with disabilities are mainstreamed into regular recess and lunch and sometimes other subjects. The non-disabled kids actually FIGHT over who will “get to be” the disabled student’s “buddy” that day. And when the boys are playing football with one 10 year old boy with Down syndrome, they are incredibly protective of him and seem to really enjoy the “joy” he gets from being out there with them. The book also squeezes in a child who is physically disabled (she is in a wheelchair) but has no cognitive disabilities. The book was a bit wordy (like this review!) and could have been edited down a bit more. Despite my criticisms, I did think this was a good book and worth reading. I’m glad it was written by Maria Shriver as the Shriver/Kennedy family have been such wonderful advocates for the mentally disabled. I bought a copy, read it with my 9 year old daughter, and then donated it to her school library.

  • Max Donatelli says:

    Review by Max Donatelli for What’s Wrong with Timmy?
    I just read What’s Wrong with Timmy? It was a pleasure to read, especially having my own son, Craig, 13 years old, who has Down syndrome. It really hit home with me how other children sometimes view Craig. I am recommending that our school district order copies so teachers can read with their students. It was a very positive story focusing on the strengths of children with special needs and how much alike we all are. Kudos to Ms. Shriver for a touching book that I hope gets widely read and helps to de-stigmatize our children! This is a very hopeful book that should be read by every elementary and middle school student, and discussed in class with their teachers…

  • Julie Jordan Scott says:

    Review by Julie Jordan Scott for What’s Wrong with Timmy?
    I was very curious to read this title from Maria Shriver knowing her family background with people with special needs.My brother has Down’s Syndrome, so I know what it is to be on the receiving end of other children looking at my brother and wondering (sometimes outloud and sometimes in facial expression, stares and body language) wondering “What’s wrong with him?” Recently one little girl asked my daughter, “Why is your uncle so freaky?”These are truths: that people “in the world” don’t always use politically correct terms… not by a long shot… and as fellow citizens we can educate those who have not yet learned some of the simple truths this book teaches.One warning (to those who do not share this view) the book takes a very spiritual stance in its explanations.Another shortcoming is overcome very simply. Each page has quite a bit of text and I thought, “This is way too much on a page to teach the very littlest children who really need the lessons the most” and then I saw the bolded, larger words on each page could be the only words read. Those words would be enough for the littlest ones to understand the message of the book.It would be tough to write a perfect book on this subject that pleases everyone.This book makes a sincere effort and will be helpful for many who read it.

  • Chava Willig Levy says:

    Review by Chava Willig Levy for What’s Wrong with Timmy?
    As a writer who gets around in a wheelchair and conducts disability-awareness workshops for school children, I’ve been a longtime collector of books that acquaint kids with people who have disabilities. This book is among the most disappointing I’ve ever seen. Here’s why:1. The book centers on a mother-daughter dialogue (actually, more of a mother monologue) *about* a kid who has Down Syndrome. How easy it would have been to transform the manuscript into a dialogue *with* a kid who has Down Syndrome!2. The choice to change the font to big and bold whenever a disability-related word is introduced is counterproductive. Take a sentence like “And then I saw that she was in a WHEELCHAIR.” [This may not be Ms. Shriver’s exact wording, but it’s close.] The large, dark letters send a danger signal to readers young and old: “Whoa! Being in a wheelchair is cause for alarm, fear, panic.” This is the very opposite of what disability rights activists have been striving to convey in books, film and television for decades.Ms. Shriver is to be commended for her work on behalf of people with disabilities. Although well intentioned, this book does not further the cause she champions.

  • Tracy Beck says:

    Review by Tracy Beck for What’s Wrong with Timmy?
    This book is a real nightmare for children with disabilities. Maria Shriver does attempt to impart the message that nothing is wrong at all- unfortunately, she’s already planted the seed in the young minds of her readers with the mere title of the book. She then spends an exhaustive twenty pages trying to be sure she’d convinced them of it. I’d recommend “Russ and the Almost Perfect Day” by Janet Elizabeth Rickert instead.



Leave a Reply

Disability Books Design by  wordpress themes