Danny is Different
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Danny Is Different, a Children’s illustrated story, is about a little green snake that is born with special needs. His parents who are upper class snobbish snakes living a fast-paced life in the city, are afraid of what the neighbors may think if they take their son out in public because he is handicapped. Mrs. Slither wonders if she should allow one of their country kinfolk to adopt him so that she and her husband don’t have to deal with a son who is physically disabled. But she changes her mind when her newborn snake son says, “I love you.” Fatherhood becomes the richer due to the fact that Mr. Slither has stayed overlong at work before his son’s birth, and Mrs. Slither’s social status may have to be compromised—the couple have to deal with this issue and therefore they are forced to spend more time at home as a family.
This book is about fatherhood, motherhood, and growing up to accept the role of being parents. It focuses on what it means to love a child with special needs and learning that perhaps their son’s handicap can be an asset. This story displays a mother and a father accepting a baby who has special needs; it concentrates on family relationships, peer pressure, uncomfortable social settings, and social norms. It tackles bullying and how to overcome that, even when being mocked in social settings or causing awkward situations for upper-class snob snakes. Danny Is Different centers around being unique and accepting others who may appear physically different. This text covers gossip and overcoming prejudices, at home, in the family, and in the community.
Danny doesn’t realize he is handicapped and he continues what he does best, he becomes a soccer player and learns to play with the kids (cats and dogs) on the other side of town who honor him and aspire to be like him, because he is a World Cup-type soccer player. How can that be? The city neighbors are never clued in to Danny’s special needs until one day when their neighbor Cindy Snooty spies on them and realizes that Danny is different. She can’t wait to spread the gossip. Danny’s parents are shocked when the city councilman, Jeremy Flake stops by to investigate the claims that Danny is malformed. He informs Mr. and Mrs. Slither, that the community can’t have this type of person living in their neighborhood.
What happens to the family? Are they railroaded out of town? Does justice triumph or prejudiced neighbors win out?