The Adventures of Oskar: Oskar's New School
by Jose A. Saldivar
Owl About Books Publisher

"Ĺ“Gathered around him were his newfound friends. Even though they were all different, they were all, in their own way, kind of the same."

A child's first day in a new school is frequently a time of great consternation on the part of both the child and his or her parents. Will the other kids be friendly or cold? Will the teacher be mean or kind? Will that first day be thrilling or traumatic? Oskar the squirrel is facing those same fears as he tosses and turns in bed the night before he is to start school, but his worries run even deeper than simply going into an unfamiliar situation. Why? Because Oskar has epilepsy, and he is scared about how the other kids will react if he has a seizure in front of them.

An educator with over thirteen years of experience in the classroom, the author does a good job of presenting the struggles children often encounter when forced to reveal to their peers a personal medical condition such as epilepsy. While in reality kids in public school are not always that accepting of differences, especially of ones as strange and frightening as an epileptic seizure, Saldivar's tale shows the best case scenario: one where the school nurse is prepared; the teacher calmly explains to her pupils about the condition; and the students understand and show compassion for their new classmate's situation. Like all didactic children's literature that focuses on such topics, it emphasizes to its young readers the proper way to respond to others with special needs.

Veteran illustrator Dorothy Jasnoch's charming artwork adds to the quality of the book and should appeal to the story's target audience. Combined with Saldivar's competent storytelling, the result is an encouraging and useful addition to elementary school literature.

Return to USR Home