What the Jackdaw Saw ISBN: 9781447280835
Published by Macmillan Children's Books, 2015
This wonderfully imaginative picture book fulfils an important purpose: in story and glowing illustrations we learn about sign language and how it helps those with hearing loss. Deafness is never mentioned, but the Jackdaw learns that his friends are trying to give him an important message, a message that warns him of danger, and they are doing so without words. Written by Julia Donaldson in collaboration with a group of deaf children in a workshop run by The Life and Deaf Association, the story tells of the Jackdaw flying over his friends, trying to invite them to his party. Instead of replying, they touch their heads - sea creatures, farm animals, people in streets, and forest animals all have this odd habit of touching their heads. Why? The Jackdaw soon finds out. He flies into a storm and with a terrific bump hits a tree! 'Jackdaw crashing, lightening flashing, thunder clapping, feathers flapping...' A wise owl explains that his friends were warning him, and that the touching of the head means 'danger'. The owl soon teaches our Jackdaw to sign, and he uses his new talent to invite his friends to the best party ever. The last two-page spread shows us children using a number of words from sign language. This joyfully illustrated, fun approach to a subject children are not likely to know much about will provide an excellent introduction to something they need to understand. They will enjoy learning some basic sign language too - a real win, win! Proceeds from the book go to The Life and Deaf Association. Great for either schools or homes. Lots of rhyming and repetition.