From School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-Nothing seems to be going right for Ben. Sometimes he has trouble understanding what his teachers are saying, and they get frustrated and yell at him. And because he sometimes acts strangely, he only has one friend, Andy. The boys are in a miserable mood, digging in the dirt in the schoolyard, when they unearth a mysterious blue bottle. Imagining that it belongs to a genie, they leap into a barrage of wishes and, gradually, their wishes begin to come true. Ben and his father win the lottery, while Andy begins a furious growth spurt that enables him to join the basketball team. Even Ben's behavior problems are eased when he is diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, a kind of autism, and he and his family learn how to deal with his condition. Only the mystery of Ben and Andy's forgotten third wish remains, and that resolves itself in a most gratifying way. Blue Bottle Mystery is a simple and straightforward story with appealing characters. It's a gentle introduction to the challenges and unique qualities of people living with Asperger's and a welcome read for families who have experienced it and similar conditions.
Heather Dieffenbach, Lexington Public Library, KY
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
'Imagine trying to find your way in foreign country where the signposts are jumbled; or not being able to talk, use your hands or facial gestures; or hearing 10 radio programmes at once and not being able to tune in to any of them. This is how a person with Asperger Syndrome feels. Blue Bottle Mystery is a delightful children's story that includes a character who suffers from this affliction and has to cope with it in order to solve a mystery. Intended to explain the Asperger condition to young sufferers and their friends, the book is non-threatening and makes learning fun. It should achieve its objective and maybe also make adults more aware of the problems the sufferers have to face.'- Sunshine Coast Sunday'Blue Bottle Mystery is a whimsical tale with a punch. Not only does it educate about the effects of Asperger Syndrome, it tells a sweet tale to boot. Ben and Andy both struggle with their conditions at the beginning of the book. With the help of the blue bottle, they are able to overcome their problems. But they also learn something along the way.'- Midwest Book Review'Blue Bottle Mystery is a simple and straightforward story with appealing characters. It's a gentle introduction to the challenges and unique qualities of people living with Asperger and a welcome read for families who have experienced it and similar conditions.'- Heather Dieffenbach, Lexington Public Library'Blue Bottle Mystery is a children's story, which addresses the misunderstandings that arise from behaviours exhibited by a child with Asperger SyndromeThroughout the adventure, the reader is offered an enlightening and entertaining insight into the mind of a child with this disorder. BBM is an educational adventure, ideal for a sibling who may be experiencing difficulty understanding and accommodating the behaviour of a brother or sister with Asperger Syndrome. It would also be suitable for a child who has Asperger Syndrome and who is seeking support and/or a better understanding of their condition. Although targeted at a reader of about eight or nine years, the language is simple and light enough to be understood by a younger child and the plot offers the depth to entertain a reader of any age. This book would be a valuable addition to the bookshelves of all families, schools and health professionals, who live, play and/or work with a child with Asperger Syndrome. At the end of the book is also a very useful list of organisations and contacts for further information.'- The Australian Health Consumer'Kathy Hoopman is a primary school teacher who has been involved with children with Asperger Syndrome for many years. It is a wonderful book for your children to read, or for you to read together, and to talk about what it must be like to see the world in this particular way.'- www.family2000.org.uk'Written with fascinating intrigue, a real adventure, this book brings us smack in the middle of the world of autism and Asperger syndrome. You understand from an insider's point of view without any technical terms to complicate the situation. The aim of this book was to give good advice and support as well as a complete explanation on what Autism and Asperger Syndrome entail. All this while reading a charming story. Fun to read and exciting until you finish it.'- De Stem van de Ouders (translated from Dutch)'This is described by the author, Kathy Hoopmann, as an "Asperger Adventure". It is certainly an out-of-the-ordinary story with its hero, Ben an autistic schoolboy, who discovers a blue bottle which seems to make his wishes come true. Life in school is a problem for Ben who is always at odds with his teachers. Eventually, however, he is diagnosed as having Asperger Syndrome and his family and friends begin to understand his behaviour. Blue Bottle Mystery is an absorbing adventure story with the added advantage that it allows children with Asperger Syndrome to read about their disability. It will assist parents and teachers to obtain some insight into this condition. It is also valuable as a teaching tool to stress the individuality of all children of all abilities. The author's love for children is apparent in her treatment of the central character and the book is highly suitable as a non-theatening bed time story. Enjoyable and absorbing, it is intended for readers in the 8-12 years age group and is printed in large easily accessible print, clearly set out in 94 pages as a paperback.'- Disability Times
'I read this book in under an hour and then immediately picked it up and read it again, much to my brother's disappointment ("It's my book!") It is a story that succeeds in the challenge parents and siblings have been faced with for years - how to explain what Autism is without drowning people amidst technical terms and psychology. It contains a lot of information whilst still being an intriguing tale of a boy's adventure that would excite any child whether they had autism or not. It was a wonderful to listen to my brothers cries of "Oh now I understand," " I do that," " Aspergers - that's what I have." The story highlights the problems for family and friends of Autistic children and for the children themselves and allows the reader to take up their part in the story. It provides advice and support, a good explanation of Autism and a heart-warming story. We shall have to buy another copy because both my brother and I love it too much to let the other have a read. My only criticism is that it does not make a good bed-time story as my brother would not go to sleep; he wanted to hear more of the story and tell me more about what he had read. Congratulations on a truly wonderful book. Best of luck.'- Clare Truman (age 14)This is a warm, fun-filled fantasy story for children with a difference: the hero is Ben, a boy with Asperger Syndrome. When Ben and his friend Andy find an old bottle in the school yard, they little realize the surprises about to be unleashed in their lives. Bound up with this exciting mystery is the story of how Ben is diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome and how he and his family deal with the problems and joys that come along.Blue Bottle Mystery is a delight to read that is more than just another kid's book. For the first time, the issues and frustrations that a child may have with Asperger Syndrome are explored within a fictional format especially for children. Its portrayal of Ben as the central character offers other children with autistic spectrum disorders and their peers a positive role model. It is a valuable teaching tool that demystifies children with Asperger Syndrome, justifying their individuality as valid and interesting.In Blue Bottle Mystery Kathy Hoopmann has combined her love of children with her passion for fantasy literature to produce a delightful read for anyone who loves an adventure and wants a unique insight into the mind of an Asperger child.