Boy written by Phil Cummings and illustrated by Shane Devries


Written by Phil Cummings

Illustrated by Shane Devries


The world around Boy was one of turmoil and war, but because he couldn’t hear, he lived in peace until he saw how frightened his family and friends were and wanted to help.

The King lived in a beautiful castle on a hill. He was very powerful and had an army of fearless knights. Also, in the same territory lived a dragon whose fiery breath had destroyed most of the area’s trees. Boy and his family lived nearby and though he could not hear, he “spoke” with dancing hands and drew pictures to get his ideas across. Meanwhile, the King was distraught about the destruction of his forest and sent his knights to fight the dragon, though nothing was ever resolved and the country remained in turmoil. One day, Boy unknowingly ran into the battle. The King and his knights demanded to know why he was there. Surprised, Boy communicated the only way he knew: with his hands and then by writing a question in the sand, one that led to a peaceful ending for everyone.

This quiet, but heartwarming tale will help children to think about better ways to solve problems.

5 comments for “Boy written by Phil Cummings and illustrated by Shane Devries

  1. Beverly Slapin
    January 29, 2018 at 11:28 pm

    This book is terrible, Linda. A deaf boy, named “Boy,” “lives in peace” because he can’t hear. He is excluded from the community, until suddenly he realizes something is wrong–there’s a war going on. So “Boy,” who uses sign language to communicate (to no avail), runs onto the battlefield and resolves the conflict between the king and the dragon by writing (in correct English) in the sand. So the villagers suddenly learn how to sign and therefore, “assign” him worth because he has become a hero. (And signing as “dancing hands”? Please don’t.)

    This book needs to be recalled. Now. (See an excellent critical review of this awful book by Asphyxia:

    • January 30, 2018 at 4:12 pm

      Dear Beverley,

      thank you so much for your comment. We appreciate your viewpoint, as well as the link you included to the other reviewer’s opinion about this book. One of our values at The Pirate Tree is a strong belief in diversity of opinion and individual responses to texts (which may be widely divergent), so we are glad that your comments offer readers the possibility to read multiple responses to the same text, one that we find worthy to recommend. This will allow them to consider and reflect upon their own perspective on the issue, as well as the book in question, rather than simply being told what to think. We also understand the necessity of growing pains as we all advocate for social justice and that not all people who ultimately desire the same end goal will have the same responses to an individual text–this is part of the messy business of activism. One thing we will never advocate for at The Pirate Tree is censorship–whether that call for censorship comes from the right, the left, or the middle. Again, thank you so much for your comment. We really appreciate your strong commitment to children’s literature.

      With kind regards,

      J.L. Powers, editor, The Pirate Tree

  2. Beverly Slapin
    January 29, 2018 at 11:38 pm

    P.S. In case readers can’t believe that one author can fit every single stereotype possible about deaf people in one children’s book, here’s he is reading the story:

  3. January 30, 2018 at 7:02 am

    Thank you, Beverly, for your concerned comments. I will pass your concern on to the publisher.

  4. February 1, 2018 at 6:13 am

    This has recently come to me from a friend without computer access so he asked me to post for him: “My name is Ed Simmons. I have had an 85% hearing loss all my life. BOY is a book with a message for all children, not just for the deaf. Also, not all deaf people, both children and adults, know how to sign. This book is a nice story relaying the point that there are different forms of communication.”

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