Jean Free, a library consultant, is a retired public-school teacher and
librarian in Whitby, Ontario.
Making Friends with Jordan is about the summer when Warren, a young
black city boy, meets Jordan, a white boy in a wheelchair. They become
friends and Warren teaches Jordan to play basketball. They learn that
they have a great deal in common, such as enjoying video games, drawing,
and fast cars.
What He Can’t Do tells about their experiences in Saturday-morning
swim classes. Handicapped Jordan is a good swimmer, and Warren is
determined to learn so he can have fun with his friend.
In King Jordan, the two boys participate in a school play for
meet-the-teacher night. Warren wants to paint scenery, while Jordan is
chosen for the minor role of king when he really wanted to be the
prince. However, both boys enjoy themselves and the parents are pleased
with the program.
This large-format series has big print and brightly illustrated pages
designed for reluctant readers. The emphasis on handicapped and black
children should fill a vacuum in primary- and junior-school reading
programs. Numerous colorful pictures make the series an appealing one
Unfortunately, Jordan and Warren live in an ideal, sanitized world,
where father wears a T-shirt imprinted with the words “Super Dad,”
where a handicapped child’s feelings are never hurt, where enlightened
teachers remark, “I think maybe we should find out what he can do,
before we tell him what he can’t do.” More real-life events in the
stories would make this series of greater significance to readers.
Recommended with reservations.