Title:  Howard B. Wigglebottom Listens to His Heart
Author: Howard Binkow
Publisher: We Do Listen Foundation

One of the most important lessons that I feel Jake can learn from me is how to be an individual. In a world where kids and adults are under constant pressure to conform to someone else’s ideal of society, I think this lesson is both increasingly valuable and increasingly more difficult to get across. I don’t want my child to be a conformist. I don’t want him to be pressured into looking, acting, and thinking a certain way by his peers, his authority figures, or anyone else. As a non-conformist myself, I probably take it a lot further than most parents, but I think every parent should instill at least some sense of self-identity in their children and inspire them to listen to their hearts, not their friends.

In Howard B. Wiggelbottom Listens to His Heart, the lovable titular bunny learns just that- how to be who he is, no matter what others may think. See, Howard loves to dance. Not only does it bring him tremendous joy, but he’s actually really quite good at it. But one day, while he’s dancing his heart out, a few kids snicker at him. Howard decides that being cool is more important than dancing, so he vows to find something else to be good at. something that his friends will approve of.

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The problem is, Howard can’t find something else that he enjoys as much as dancing. He tries basketball, art, and running, but none of them go very well. Howard is feeling totally dejected, as if he’ll never be good at anything. His grandpa notices Howard’s long face and asks him what’s wrong, then encourages Howard to dance by teaching him some of his old moves. By the end of the book, Howard is dancing again and realizes that listening to his heart and being filled with joy is way cooler than changing who he is just to fit in with his friends. Of course, in the end, his friends all decide that Howard’s dancing skills are pretty cool after all.

As with the other Howard books I’ve reviewed, Howard B. Wigglebottom Listens to His Heart sends a great message to children in a manner they can relate to, and with characters that are very similar to themselves (minus the giant ears and fur, of course). You can watch an animated telling of the book on the We Do Listen Foundation website or order a hardcover copy through their store.

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