Title: Craig Meets Dave – And Learns About Autism, Bullying and Friendship
Author: Susanne Breckwoldt, Ph.D
In today’s society where there is the common problem of children being bullied or even kidnapped by someone they know, Susanne Breckwoldt, Ph.D. has written a short story titled, Craig Meets Dave – And Learns About Autism, Bullying and Friendship.
This thirty-six page paperback book has a drawing of three bears holding a picture of an owl on the front cover. This third book of Breckwoldt is illustrated by Allen E. Donahue, edited by Megan Curley and designed by Michael Saridis. The book is targeted to young people who may want to learn and understand autism, bullying and friendship but the beginning of the title does not seem to match the storyline. Some pages have purple sentences at the top of the page to reiterate the story of the book and there are a few spacing and typographical errors. On almost every page, there is a small drawing done in colored pencils to enhance the tale.
This story is mainly about young bears that have to adapt and get along with other bears, at school and in the neighborhood. Craig and Ben are good friends who protect Dave who has autism. Unfortunately Ed, Zach and Jimmy are the bullies of the school and make fun of Dave along with Craig and Ben, even threatening them. Craig’s sister Emily goes over to Ed’s house to play with his sister, Star. When Ed finds out about them playing together, he leads Emily and Star over to the basement of Mr. Bear Harvey’s old house and locks them both in a dark closet. Both girl bears are very scared and cry. When no one can find the two missing children, Craig remembers Ed’s threat and takes the police, detectives and search dogs to Mr. Bear Harvey’s house. When they arrive, they find Mr. Harvey holding and hugging both girls. A month later there is a big fair at the school to raise money so experts can be brought to talk about differences and conflicts. At the fair, everyone is friendly and happy.
The story may be a long and confusing read for younger children since there are over twenty characters mentioned. In regard to the three topics, the autism is mentioned mainly at the beginning and the bullying is discussed but never punished or shown accountability, only stating one needs help and has a poor upbringing or low self-esteem. The friendship is well-mentioned throughout the storyline both in regard to having an autistic friend or a scared sibling. Some parts of the book may be alarming to some children in lieu of kidnapping by someone you know and being locked in a dark closet.
This review will also be posted on http://www.bookpleasures.com and www. amazon.com