“Children on the spectrum are heroes, too!”
I have just returned from the Land of Can in the Kingdom of Should where I met Frankie, his cat Fuzzy, and his new friends Princess Didi, Lester the Court Jester, Mr. Pick-it, Doctor Dazzle and Penelope, a very, very, very BIG bird!
Frankie – who has autism – has five favourite things including his pet cat Fuzzy and a LOVE of waffles. After a not-so-nice encounter with the Meanies (bullies who pick on Frankie) Frankie and Fuzzy venture over the Great Hill, across the Maple Syrup Sea through the Great Woods until they reach The Kingdom of Should. Along the way Frankie and Fuzzy meet Penelope, a very, very big bird, who as a hatchling looked and behaved differently from all of the other hatchlings, and was teased as a result. They also met Mr. Pick-it, Keeper of the Songs. (“I’m the Song Catcher” is a fun tune that shouldn’t be missed. You’ll find yourself humming it after you’ve heard it!)
At the Kingdom of Should Frankie and Fuzzy also meet Princess Didi and Lester the Court Jester. Princess Didi has ADHD and while creative, smart and loads of fun, Princess Didi has a little bit of trouble staying focussed on the things other people want her to do; namely her father, the King.
Lester the Court Jester has Asperger’s and visual issues and is misunderstood by those in the Kingdom who mostly find his behaviour annoying, and feel Lester just gets in the way.
We later learn that Mr. Pick-it, Keeper of the Songs used to be bullied as a child because he had crossed-eyes. Thanks to Doctor Dazzle, Keeper of the Lenses, Mr. Pick-it no longer has issues with crossed-eyes.
As we follow Frankie, Princess Didi and Lester the court jester we hear how they learn to embrace their exceptionalities, and what happens when they find the courage to stand up to their bullies. (No spoilers from me, but you won’t be disappointed!)
This fun and colourful story is told through a combination of narration and music. While aimed at those who have exceptionalities such as Autism, ADD/ADHD, or ASD, The Kingdom of Should is an audio book suitable for children of all ages – including those of us who are only children at heart.
There are many things I liked about The Kingdom of Should. Clearly, the creators, Joan Raina, Joe Romano and Dr. Steve Gallop understand and relate to children, especially those dealing with challenges surrounding their differences. Within each character they incorporate some common behaviours and limitations found in children who have autism, Asperger’s, ADHD or vision issues. It is through those portions of the story that the reasons behind some of those behaviors, are explained for the benefit of anyone who may not know. The Kingdom of Should sends the message that it’s okay to be different, and that there are ways to help each child grow and reach their full potential. In my experience, not many books (print or audio) convey such a message. And the inclusion of music makes it that much more fun.
The Kingdom of Should is a 2-disc audiobook. The accompanying CD entitled “Dreaming in the Land of Can” features sleep music based on the story and music of The Kingdom of Should. In addition, www.kingdomofshould.com the website for both The Kingdom of Should audiobook and Dreaming in the Land of Can, features an entertaining interactive component, (Click on the “Children’s Interactive Portal” arrow found in the top right corner of the home page.) bios on its creators and lots of fun and vibrant illustrations.
Dreaming in the Land of Can:
I enjoyed Dreaming in the Land of Can as much as I did the audiobook. I couldn’t possibly do it justice by attempting to describe it here. (In my opinion the music is both unique and beautiful.) Developed by Joe Romano, a Developmental Music Therapist, the music is really something you should experience for yourself. You won’t be sorry you did. I left it playing one afternoon while working at home, and it really does have the desired effect of relaxation.
If asked to describe The Kingdom of Should and Dreaming in the Land of Can using only one word, I would have to choose exceptional – because it truly is!
The Kingdom of Should 2-disc audiobook is available for purchase for $29.99USD. Dreaming in the Land of Can, a “therapeutic tool, designed to promote deep, restful and relaxing sleep” is available for $19.99USD. This story is so much fun and the music so well done, that I encourage you to buy the combo pack for $39.99USD to receive both the audiobook and music CD. You will find yourself replaying both and enjoying it more each time. All Land of Can products are available for purchase via The Kingdom of Should website found at www.KingdomofShould.com. Also, be sure to check-out their Facebook page at Kingdom of Should.