#BookReview: Jack’s Best Day Ever!, Gabrielle Bassett (author), Annabelle Hale (illus.), Woodslane Press, May 2023.


Jack loves anything that zooms, digs and races. But Jack doesn’t like change and he only ever wants to eat peanut butter sandwiches! This heartwarming story of friendship explores how it feels to be neurodivergent and introduces children to the idea that there is no one-size-fits-all way to be human.


Jack’s Best Day Ever! is a picture book full of celebrations. It is a story of the joyous, unconditional friendship between Jack and Poh as they, each with their own neurodiversity and disability, triumph with bravery and simply enjoy the fun times they have together. It is a story written from the heart by Gabrielle Bassett; a playful and insightful representation of her courageous, and real, characters that bring so much positive attention to their unique personalities.

Taking us on a sensory adventure, Poh introduces Jack with his fun little quirks, including his love of things that zoom, dig and race, the funny noises he makes when he plays, and especially his (and Poh’s) love of peanut butter sandwiches. Jack is championed all the way through this inclusive story, with his friends, sisters, parents and teachers always cheering him on, whatever challenges are faced. We are blessed with the understanding of Jack’s nuances at school, a party and when he visits his zookeeper mum at the zoo. Jack certainly teaches us a thing or two as a ‘Walking Encyclopedia’ of animal knowledge. But, it is his courage that is most admirable, for Jack overcomes his aversions to terrible smells and unfamiliar tastes; trying out the same foods that the elephants, giraffes and meerkats love to eat. And wait till you see what Jack does with the lions! Energetic, perfectly-paced and sensitively narrated, combined with the vibrant, diverse and expressive line and textured illustrations by Annabelle Hale in warm blues, greens and oranges together create a visually- and orally-appealing story that will have readers engaged and celebrating along with the characters in the book.

A richly layered and heart-warming book of friendship, bravery and trying new things, perfect for primary school-aged readers to engage in discussions and develop understandings of ourselves and our friends with a neurodiversity (and other diversities), in welcoming and embracing different ways of thinking and being. Jack’s Best Day Ever! is delightfully optimistic, important and eye-opening – sure to result in the BEST reading experience ever!

Review by Romi Sharp.

Find terrific teaching notes for Jack’s Best Day Ever! on the Woodslane Press website!

Gabrielle Bassett can be found on Instagram and via Woodslane Press.

Annabelle Hale can be found at her website: Gallery – Annabelle Hale Illustration (annabelle-hale.com) and on Facebook and Instagram.

Jack’s Best Day Ever! can be purchased via Woodslane Press here and in all good bookstores.

It’s the BEST day to WIN Jack’s Best Day Ever!

Click here to find out how to enter to win a copy of the vibrant and inclusive picture book, Jack’s Best Day Ever!

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#jacksbestdayever #inclusion #neurodiversity #autismawareness #picturebooks #justkidslit

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