by Jeanne Gehret, M.A.
Verbal Images Press; $17.95; ages 6-9
Purchase Houdini's Gift
Perhaps the only thing better than escaping into a book is being captured by one. Children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) will find themselves captured by Houdini’s Gift, a book about attention problems and responsibility.
When Ben’s hyperfocus creates a diversion, his hamster, Houdini, makes his escape. Ben wants to get a new pet, but before he does, he must learn to be more responsible. A chore chart helps Ben remember to take care of himself, earning him the right to care for a new pet. (You’ll have to read the book to find out which animal catches Ben’s attention and winds up living with Ben and his family.)
There’s another story in Houdini’s Gift—the story of how Ben escapes blame, punishment, and shame. Ben’s parents understand that his inattention isn’t his fault, and that losing Houdini was punishment enough. They wisely choose to implement a reward chart, as an incentive for Ben to learn to stay on task.
For parents and teachers, Gehret includes a list of resources related to reward charts, parenting, and sharpening attention. Houdini’s Gift is an inspiring and serviceable read.
Houdini’s Gift is the third book in The Coping Series, following new, significantly revised editions of Gehret’s ADD and LD classics: The Don’t Give Up Kid and Learning Disabilities and Eagle Eyes: A Child’s Guide to Paying Attention (both 4th edition).
Let Houdini’s Gift capture your child’s attention. But be ready to escape the inevitable question, “Can I earn a pet?”