Kid’s Book Review: What Happened To You?

Kid’s Book Review: What Happened To You?

About the Book and Author

This picture book for 3-6 year old children is all about a boy called Joe who gets a bit fed up when other children only seen interested in asking him about why he only has one leg.

Imagine you were asked the same question again and again throughout your life . . . You’d get fed up too, right?

This is the experience of one-legged Joe, a child who just wants to have fun in the playground . . . Constantly seen first for his disability, Joe is fed up of only ever being asked about his leg. All he wants to do is play Pirates. But as usual, one after the other, all the children ask him the same question they always ask, “What happened to you?”

This is a must-read book for parents and teachers to share with toddlers. It offers insight, promotes empathy, is a gateway to discussion and also gives the grown-ups some tips on how to handle and anticipate those inevitable but mortifying questions from curious little ones whose diplomatic and sensitivity skills still need refinement. It is published by Faber and made us smile a lot.

What Happened to You? cover
James Catchpole author

James Catchpole was destined to be either an itinerant singer or an amputee footballer! But he now runs The Catchpole Agency with his wife Lucy, and represents authors and illustrators of children’s picture books, non-fiction and novels, including Polly Dunbar, SF Said, Michelle Robinson, David Lucas and Karen George.

Karen George has always loved drawing and painting and as a child it was her absolute favourite thing to do. A graduate of The Royal College of Art, Karen used to paint sets for films but turned her creative attentions to picture book illustration after becoming mum to her two young sons. In 2009 Karen won the inaugural Waterstones’ Picture This competition. She then illustrated Julia Donaldson’s stories, Freddie and the Fairy and Wake up Do, Lydia Lou! She now writes her own stories as well as illustrating.

Book Review

He’s very good at balancing on the swing, I wish I could do that!

From Mum: Thank you so much for this book. We received it only yesterday, but have been reading it on repeat since then, Ila LOVES it!

When asking her if/what she enjoyed about it her response has been:
“Again, again! I really like it, he’s very good at balancing on the swing, I wish I could do that!”

Interestingly, she didn’t acknowledge the characters missing leg as something she wanted to ask ‘why’ about and was more focused on the illustrations indicating the thoughts or imagination of the children. Lots of “look Mummy, they’re pretending to be pirates now!” “Look you can see what they’re thinking…she thinks his leg fell off but that boy thinks it was a burglar…”

I have to say, I personally found the part at the back for adults really useful and clearly written, as I’ve often wondered how best to react in such a situation as the author describes.

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Alternatively, we suggest that you visit your local library and request to borrow a copy from a friendly librarian.

Whichever you choose, we hope you enjoy being part of your unique reading community – happy reading everyone!

Reviewer Profile

Ila young reviewer
  • Name: Ila
  • Age: 3 years
  • Likes: monsters, dragons and tortoises
  • Dislikes: prawns and pirates stealing treasure!
  • Favourite book: There's a Monster in Your Book by Tom Fletcher
  • Favourite Film: Ballerina
  • Favourite Song: Rascal Flatts - Life is a Highway (from Cars)