Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Invisible Boy

The Invisible Boy

Trudy Ludwig
Illustrator:  Patrice Barton 
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Random House, 2013   ISBN: 978-1582464503

Brian is not really an invisible boy but he is so quiet and makes so little fuss in class, that it is almost as if he really is invisible. Mrs. Carlotti has her hands full dealing with Nathan, who shouts all the time, and Sophie, “who whines and complains” whenever she doesn’t get what she wants. Somehow Brian never gets picked when the children play kickball, and when one of the children has a birthday party, Brian isn’t invited.

   Then one day a new boy called Justin joins Brian’s class. At lunch Justin eats something called bulgogi with chopsticks and when he offers some to the other children they make fun of him and his strange Korean food. Brian wonders which is worse; being laughed at or feeling invisible.

  The next morning Justin finds a note waiting for him in his cubby. The note is from Brian and in it Brian says that he thinks Justin’s bulgogi “looked good.” One the note Brian even drew a little picture of himself eating bulgogi with chopsticks.

   In this wonderful picture book Trudy Ludwig shows young readers how painful it is to be the child who is always left out of everything. Her story is thoughtfully sensitive and she explores the idea that being kind to one another is simple to do, taking little effort, and yet it makes such a difference to someone who feels alone and lonely.