Just As Special by 3Evoke, LLC illustrated by Colette Robbins is a picture book for young children that addresses the issue of being raised by single parents. In this story, Mason feels left out because he doesn't have a dad around. While the story does not focus on the particular circumstances of why Mason does not have contact with his father- the lesson that there are other loving family members and trusted adults that care for Mason can apply to any child who feels alone.
Nevertheless as a parent, I am left to wonder why Mason apparently does not know anything about his dad when he asks his mom why he does not have a dad to play with. Cryptically, the mom responds early in in the story, "You do have a dad and he loves you. Sometimes for many different reasons, dads aren't around, instead they send great people in their place to watch over you." This answer seems to imply that either his dad has passed away, or perhaps is unavailable in some way such as in the military, incarnation or committed in a mental institution- to explain the fact that his son knows nothing about him. If Mason was from a divorced home, he would at least have visitation with his father. As a reader, I am wondering what happened to the dad and why he is not in the picture, even though his mom states his dad loves him. I just can't get past that aspect of the story. As a reader, I was hoping the authors would add an explanation such as a divorce or death or military service to explain the dad's absence. Mason's mother answers with a gentle, yet vague response- which can apply to many different situations that young children may experience when they are separated from their fathers through divorce, death, military or even incarceration. Expressive illustrations bring this story to life. The narrative in the present tense is unique and adds realism as if this story is directed at the reader. As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Dog Ear Publishing for the purpose of writing this review.