Thursday, August 26, 2021

Review: The Incredibly Busy Mind of Bowen Bartholomew Crisp by Paul Russell

 Today's review is a nod to all those kids out there, who don't think quite like everyone else.

by Paul Russell
Illustrated by Nicky Johnston
EK Books
32 pages
ages 4 to 8

Most children would say that the ocean is blue, but when Bowen looks at it he sees white where the waves crash, deep black on the ocean floor, and green when there’s a storm. He wonders whether fireflies are hot, and notices how the brushstrokes of a painting tell a story too. Bowen sees the world differently to other children and struggles to fit in. How will he find his place in the world?

The Incredibly Busy Mind of Bowen Bartholomew Crisp follows the life of Bowen through school and beyond. At every stage, he finds that he doesn’t fit in with his peers, but this eventually becomes his greatest strength. Through thinking differently, he is able to solve problems that no one else could. After all, just because something can’t be mended the same as it was, why can’t it be mended differently?

A very personal story, Bowen’s tale is sensitively written and full of colourful, lively illustrations. It aims to offer hope to children who haven’t yet found their place in life by showing them that being ‘normal’ might just be overrated, and that to find success in life we should be valuing our differences.

Children, carers, teachers and psychologists alike will find inspiration in this tale of embracing diversity and engaging our full potential. It is a vital reminder that the strength and uniqueness of every child should be encouraged to help them find their place in the world and flourish!

You can purchase it on Exisle     Here


No two people are the same or see the world in the same way. But then, there are those kids, who realize that they don't seem to think like anyone else. Bowen Bartholomew Crisp is one of these kids. In these pages, the reader follows him from his first days in school all the way until the end of his teenage years. And maybe, he'll have his own spot in life by the end, after all.

The illustrations are fun to glance through and offer a wholesome warmth and encouragement. Not only do they add to the tale and demonstrate the situations well, but the details will keep readers coming back again and again to discover something new.

This isn't a book for the youngest. There is more text and the thoughts are also a bit more advanced, making this a read more for six and up. It does work well as a read-aloud for younger ones, but be prepared to answer some questions because Bowen Bartholomew covers a lot of ground in all sorts of topics and ideas. It's fun to zip around in his head with him, and more than a couple kids will be able to identify with him.

While the message in this one is clear, it's not preachy, either. There is even a little humor built in to keep things light, and the family love is also present, making it a positive read in every way.

And here they are...

Paul Russell is a primary teacher, artist, playwright and children’s author of Grandma Forgets and My Storee, among others, with Grandma Forgets making the CBCA list of notable picture books in 2018. Having been in classrooms for over 30 years, it really isn’t surprising that all of his heroes are teachers. He is passionate about children’s literacy and building young appetites for the written word.


Nicky Johnston is an educator, speaker, and author/illustrator of children’s books. She is passionate about promoting emotional resilience in children and raising awareness of mental health issues. As well as teaching, she works from home writing and illustrating and has contributed to 16 books including The Fix-It Man and Saying Goodbye to Barkley.


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