The Pirate of Kindergarten

George Ella Lyon, illus. by Lynne Avril, S&S/Atheneum/Jackson, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4169-5024-0
Ginny has double vision, although she doesn't receive that diagnosis (and a treatment plan) until the final pages of this vividly empathetic book. Without lecturing or making Ginny the object of pity, Lyons (Sleepsong) and Avril (Every Cowgirl Needs a Horse), who works in cheery but remarkably expressive pastels, show how disorientating and alienating it feels when something as fundamental as visual perception goes awry. "If she didn't keep her mind tied tight when Ms. Cleo gave them rabbit pictures, she might cut out one ear and another and another. Once she got so mad, she stuck the scissors in the paste." The arrival of a vision screener at school is a little gem of narrative tension: since Ginny can see fine when one eye is covered, will her problem be caught? Readers will be reassured and gratified to know that the answer is yes ("Do you see two of me?" asks the nurse kindly. "Do you know... that most people see only one?") Even those with 20/20 vision will feel Ginny's sense of relief, and close the book confident of her progress. Ages 4–8. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/17/2010
Release date: 06/01/2010
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