As six-year-old Emma anticipates the birth of her new baby brother or sister, she vividly imagines all of the things they can do together. They’ll go to Grandpa’s farm to feed the calves, ride in the back of the mini-van making faces at the cars that go by, fly on airplanes, and someday, they’ll even go to Africa on a safari to see elephants and rhinos. And she can’t wait to go to the art festival and show the baby how to paint a picture with a rubber octopus. Emma feels ready to be a big sister!
Then when the baby is born, her dad tells her that it’s a boy named Isaac, and he has something called Down syndrome. As her dad shares this news, Emma senses his concern and wonders if Isaac will be able to go on all those adventures after all. While they talk, they come to the conclusion that he will certainly be able to do everything she’s imagined. Finally she asks, “If Isaac has this Down thing, then what can’t he do?” Her dad thinks about it, then tells her that as long as they are patient with him, and help him when he needs it, there probably isn’t anything Isaac can’t do.
In this touching story, Emma helps her father as much as he helps her to realize that Isaac is the baby they dreamed of. The book concludes with a set of commonly asked questions about Down syndrome with answers for children and how it might affect their sibling and family. The wonderful color illustrations help make We’ll Paint the Octopus Red a beautiful, reassuring book for siblings of children with Down syndrome that’s sure to become a family favorite.
Written by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen and Illustrated by Pam DeVito
Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen is author of the award-winning Elizabeti’s Doll picture book series, among others. She has a Master of Fine Arts in writing and currently lives with her husband and two daughters in La Center, Washington.
Pam DeVito, the illustrator, lives with her family in Maine.