Review of Isaac and his Amazing Asperger Superpowers by Melanie Walsh

For now we’ll post reviews for books about neurodiversity on our blog. We’ll let you know when we have a full page of titles in our Reviews sections.

Isaac and his Amazing Asperger Superpowers

Melanie Walsh
Walker Books: 2016
ISBN: 9780763681210
Age: 4+

Reviewed by Viv Young

Isaac introduces himself as a superhero with special superpowers that make him different from other kids and his brother. He identifies his superpowers over the course of the book and they include a great memory, lots of energy, super hearing, and good attention to detail (‘good at spotting things’). Isaac also explains how superheroes have certain traits, such as saying aloud whatever they think, not wanting to look in people’s eyes, and becoming confused easily (e.g. by jokes). Each of these superpowers and traits is elaborated. For example, Isaac explains how his brother once told him he would pop if he ate too much and Isaac believed him. Occasionally, the focus is on how Isaac’s superpowers may affect others. For example Isaac’s Mum tells him people may be upset by his tendency to ‘tell people what they look like’. While some people don’t always understand Isaac, he explains that his pets do, and various others (father, teacher, brother) are also presented as supportive.

In a concise and caring manner Melanie Walsh provides an informative overview of experiences and behaviours commonly associated with what has traditionally been called Asperger’s Syndrome. The superhero theme is age-appropriate and apt for the focus on both the challenges and advantages high functioning ASD can involve. While Isaac is the central character, the pets, brother, teacher and father all demonstrate understanding and acceptance, providing a balance for the occasional reference to teasing and exclusion among peers. The illustrations concentrate especially on Isaac and represent the superpowers and super-person traits, such as memory and hearing, with great creativity. Melanie Walsh’s use of bold colour with simple yet symbolic artworks demonstrate a desire to communicate clearly the intense feelings associated with Isaac’s experience of the world. This is an informative story about one boy’s experience of autism that can be used to talk with other kids on the spectrum or with neurotypical friends and relatives.