Friday 12 July 2019

The Girl Who Thought in Pictures

The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr Temple Grandin by Julia Finley Mosca, illustrated by Daniel Rieley (The Innovation Press) PB RRP $17.99 ISBN 9781943147 618

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

Neurologist Oliver Sachs wrote about Temple Grandin, a child with autism who hated to be touched and who loved animals: she grew up to become a famed inventor. One of her best-known inventions was a contraption which settled animals just prior to slaughter. Basing on this invention, Grandin made a ‘holding’ machine for herself which helped to calm her.

In this picture book for children aged 5 to 9 years, Finley Mosca has used rhyming narrative verse to tell Grandin’s story from childhood to adulthood. She invites the reader who feels ‘different’ to empathise with the autistic girl who hated ‘a big squeezy hug’, loud sounds and bright lights and who threw massive tantrums. By the age of three Grandin hadn’t spoken and at school she’s bullied for repeating the same words over and over.

In the back of the book, there’s a letter to the ‘Dear Reader’ from Temple Grandin herself and a picture of her sitting with a group of cows. There are also ‘fun facts and tidbits from the author’s chat with Temple’. One learns for example, that in 2010 HBO released Temple Grandin, starring actress Claire Danes, who won a Golden Globe for her role as the well-known Scientist. Included in the film was artwork with Grandin created as a child.

To finish this book, is a timeline of Grandin’s life which includes her many achievements, not the least of which is speaking in conferences all over the world.
The book is illustrated with simple, stylised pictures set against blocks of colour which suits the subject matter.

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