It's a wonderful book. There's just one thing I don't like about it. I quote from page 26: "Poor Beethoven even went deaf ... but he still composed music!" Yeah. Poor guy, he went deaf. Sucks to be deaf, don't it? Now, the thing is, going deaf was indeed a hardship and a tragedy for Beethoven, for all sorts of obvious reasons. And even today, when life is so dramatically different in almost all respects for people with hearing loss, it's still often a hardship. [We're having earmold issues. Even with the best technology, living with hearing loss can be a real PITA sometimes.] But it's most definitely not a tragedy, and it stings a bit to be reminded that the automatic reaction to deafness is pity -- "poor deaf kid." Kindness, consideration, sometimes a little accommodation, but not pity, thank you very much. In any case, I'm not comfortable reading that line to Ben -- or at least I leave out the "poor" part. I guess it's fortunate that we usually look at that book after his equipment is out, which effectively dodges the issue, at least until he learns to read.
But that's my only complaint -- really, it's a great book, and I highly recommend it.
And that's the history behind the following exchange with Ben as I picked him up from school today:
Ben: I'm deaf!
Me: Yes, you are!
Ben: I'm not wearing any hearing equipment.
Me: [looking with some confusion at his equipment] Really? Then how can you hear me?
Ben: I'm listening through a speaking trumpet!
He went on to insist that I call him Beethoven all afternoon, and when we got to page 26 of the book this evening, he said, "This is my page!"
|Cool speaking trumpet!|
|From later in the same book. Ben named this character Yo Yo Giraffe.|