Phil Cummings’ book, Boy is about a young boy who is dearly loved by his family. However, the people in his village are very confused by him because he talks with “dancing hands.” Boy is deaf. 

The king of this land frequently gathers his knights together to battle a dragon who has torched their trees with his fiery breath. They are extremely loud and angry. These battles cause a lot of fear for the community members and Boy could sense this fear.

Unexpectedly, the young boy stumbles into the battle one day. With his quietness and his wisdom, he is able to resolve the issue between the combatants, and restore peace to their people.

Age Level

This book would be appropriate for kids ages 4-8. However, I would not hesitate to use it as a mentor text for kids in grades 4 or 5.

You could easily do a lesson on theme. Focus on the social emotional learning skills of good communication, including the importance of listening to others.


photo from Kane Miller

The illustrator, Shane Devries, uses the medium of water color to portray this simple, yet powerful story. I love the muted browns and tans, and the way they are still able to express so much. You will enjoy “reading the pictures” of this book and finding all of the tiny details that Devries adds to his illustrations.

photo from Kane Miller

Teaching Opportunities

  • Discuss the importance of listening carefully to others and their feelings. It is easy to jump to conclusions and become defensive because you THINK you know why someone is upset.
    • Have you ever done this? How did it make you feel?
  • What do you think of the way Boy resolved the problem between the dragon and the king? Why did the author, Phil Cummings, choose to have a young boy make things right?
  • What surprised you about this story?
  • How does Boy communicate with people? Why is this important to the story?
    • Have you ever met anyone who communicates the way Boy does?
  • Do an internet search to learn how to say “Hi!” and “My name is ____,” in sign language. If you ever meet someone who is deaf, you will be able to share this with them!

Other Books by Phil Cummings

Thanks for reading our book review of Boy. You can find other reviews in our Library.

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