Wild for Winnie

Dial. Apr. 2022. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780593111819.
K-Gr 3–Winnie, a white girl with freckles, is the new kid in class, surprising all her classmates with her wild behavior. She never stops moving, but instead of reprimanding her, the teacher, who is Black, suggests they should all try to see the world through Winnie’s eyes. She knows that Winnie suffers from Sensory Processing Disorder that can cause overstimulation. When she monkeys around, the students, who have a range of skin colors, hair styles, and abilities, go out on the jungle gym; when Winnie acts squirrelly, the kids “go nuts” on an obstacle course, etc. Some of these will connect for readers. However, the story doesn’t always show a response to her SPD behaviors that makes sense: when Winnie feels antsy, the teacher has them all get into (blanket) cocoons and turn into butterflies. Is this helping Winnie, or her classmates, or both? It is never clear. What is very helpful is the back matter that offers caregivers ideas for helping these children cope. The illustrations serve the text well and are as energetic and alive as Winnie and her crew.
VERDICT This is a good story about looking beyond initial behaviors and trying to walk in the shoes of someone who is different. Even though specific connections are not drawn, the idea of trying to understand what others are experiencing sings loud and true.

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