I was looking forward to reading this little book: Second Chance by, Sandra J. Gerencher. Because I have a child with significant special needs (with some autistic-like tendencies), I was intrigued by the premise of the book -- both a child with autism and a dog being saved by adoption. I am a huge fan of adoption; I believe that more people should explore the option to adopt, especially children with special needs. But, I didn't quite see the similarities between adopting a child with special needs and a pup.
So, I began to read the book. Immediately, I was concerned. Knowing it was a book meant for children, I tried to swallow hard and work my way through Chance, the adopted dog, narrating the story. I just have a problem with issues as important as those raised in this book being reasoned through by a dog, considering dog's can't reason. (Reminder to self: Children's book, remember children's book...)
I also had a moment of pause when the author suggested that her adopted son, Ryan, a child with autism, could speak DOG. The child was actually able to carry out a conversation with the pooch. Now, I don't have a child with autism, but I also don't believe children with autism are akin to Dr. Doolittle. I am not sure that this image is appropriate to present to children reading this book. It would be very confusing for a child without special needs. I thought it was a stretch and, again, a bit too contrived for the importance of the message the author was trying to present.
I did appreciate the attempt to appeal to children and teach them about topics such as special needs, adoption and caring for animals that are destined for euthanasia. It was a well written book by a mother who obviously loves her child and her pets. Unfortunately, this book just didn't do it for me.
Below are links to information regarding this Second Chance. Read it, and if you have an opinion you'd like to share, come back and leave a comment. I'd love to hear your thoughts.
PBS Kids Recommended title
Book web site:
Sandra J. Gerencher Facebook:
Tribute Books website:
Tribute Books Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/ Archbald-PA/Tribute-Books/ 171628704176
Tribute Books Twitter:
Sandra J. Gerencher Bio:
Sandra J. Gerencher is a special education teacher in the Bangor Area public school system. Prior to becoming a teacher, she worked at in a school-based program, as a Program Specialist for adults with disabilities. Over the past 20 years she has worked with children and adults with special needs in such areas as counseling, Behavior Specialist Consultation, behavioral research, crisis intervention and abuse therapy. Sandra graduated from Lehigh University with a M.Ed. in Special Education (2004) and from in Philadelphia with an M.S. in Counseling Psychology (1999).
YouTube video book trailer embed html code: