cover image Four Eyes (Four Eyes #1)

Four Eyes (Four Eyes #1)

Rex Ogle, illus. by Dave Valeza. Graphix, $24.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-338-57497-5; $12.99 paper ISBN 978-1-338-57496-8

Ogle (Abuela, Don’t Forget Me) recounts his tumultuous sixth grade year in this layered and moving graphic novel memoir. Not only does he seem to be the only kid who hasn’t experienced a growth spurt, but his best friend renounced their shared love of comics to impress popular bully Victor, and days suffering from splitting headaches result in the discovery that he needs glasses. The expense causes friction between Ogle’s divorced parents and puts added pressure on his mother and stepfather, who are overwhelmed by financial stressors but resist monetary assistance from Abuela. Ogle’s new eyewear prompts bullying from classmates; when he vents to Abuela, she describes her childhood living in financial precarity in Rancho Nuevo, Mexico, enabling Ogle to rethink his outlook on life. The lesson in gratitude lands gracefully, in part because it’s accompanied by the important corollary that it’s okay to ask for and accept help. Valeza’s classic-feeling character designs, reminiscent of Raina Telgemeier’s work, effectively capture the 1990s aesthetic, and visual jokes, like an optometrist called Eye Caramba, add levity to a thoughtfully rendered read that tackles themes of loneliness, connection, and change. Ages 8–12. (May)