Through an amazing Facebook group, I have had the pleasure to connect with so many great children’s book authors over the last few weeks. Within the first 24 hours of joining the group I was chatting with the fabulous Colleen Brunetti.
Aidan the Wonder Kid by Colleen Brunetti, and illustrated by Dan Carsten, is a picture book that explains the “secret energy powers” of a little boy named Aidan, and how sometimes those powers disappear because of the foods he eats. As readers, we witness Aidan change his diet, experiment in the kitchen, and continue to be A WONDER KID WHO CAN’T BE STOPPED!
One of my favorite aspects is the characterization of Aidan. Right away kids can bond with him because he has the same interests and hobbies that they do. My favorite is that he prefers to front flip across the couch instead of strolling through the living room. He has lots of happy, positive energy and loves to go on adventures. When he gets sick and not able to do all of his favorite things, the reader does feel for Aidan.
I was also a HUGE fan of the illustrations for this book! The story describes Aidan as an extraordinary little boy, but with hints of super powers, which can also be seen in the illustrations. I really enjoyed the realistic cartoon look and the creativity. On one of the pages, mom and Aidan are mad scientists in the kitchen, and the illustrations do a beautiful job showing their experiments.
For me, the main theme of the book is that health issues don’t have to stop a person from enjoying life. Just because Aidan has food allergies it doesn’t mean he can’t still go to birthday parties (he may just have to bring his own dessert). By providing his body with what it needs, Aidan can play, jump, and flip just like he always did. I also love that the author included the importance of finding a support system, in this instance a group of other kids with food allergies. I think this really shows kids that food allergies are not uncommon and they should not be afraid of them.
Not only does this picture book have a fantastic theme, it also has lesson plans!! This totally made my teacher heart happy. Brunetti did a truly wonderful job creating Common Core aligned lesson plans for kids in grades 1-3, which focus on higher order thinking skills. I’m a huge fan of the discussion guide. It provides super clear directions (great for parents to use at home) and opens the door for meaningful conversations about food allergies and awareness.
This would be a lovely book and activity in a preschool to lower elementary grade classroom.
For more information about the book and author, feel free to check out these sites:
Facebook: FB.com/CoachColleenBrunetti Instagram:Instagram.com/ColleenBrunetti