Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Pirate of Kindergarten

by George Ella Lyon
illustrated by Lynne Avril
Lyon, George Ella. The Pirate of Kindergarten. Ill. by Lynne Avril. New York: NY: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2010. ISBN 9781416950240

Plot Summary
Ginny is a kindergarten student who has double vision. The problem is she doesn't know it. She is constantly tripping over and bumping into things, and therefore gets made fun of. It isn't until the clinic performs vision tests, that her double vision becomes apparent to the adults and herself. Ginny believed that everyone saw things the way she did, so she never said anything. After going to the eye doctor she finds out she needs to wear a patch and later glasses to see clearly. She embraces the patch and does everything she couldn't do great before.

Critical Analysis
The combination of Lyon's text and Avril's illustrations make this a wonderful teachable moment book. While creating a story on a character with a vision disability, Lyon completed a cute, humorous and informational book. The text is simple yet detailed. The story is told through narration and includes quotes from the characters. 

Avril's illustrations make this book come to life. She used chalk pastels mixed with acrylic medium and prismacolor pencils to create the colorful drawings. Readers may get dizzy when looking at some of the illustrations because they are drawn the way Ginny sees. She has double vision, so images of chairs and people are drawn as doubles. Once Ginny learns of her vision problem and starts wearing the patch, the illustrations are all clear. This is an amazing way to put the reader in the characters shoes, or eyes for this book. 

This a great read aloud for ages 4 to 8. Some students my even be able to relate to the story through similar vision problems or other impairments. There is also a great lesson in overcoming and embracing your problems.

Review Excerpts
  • Lyon's short, descriptive sentences set up the situation deftly, and Avril's astute chalk, pencil, and acrylic drawings of 'two of everything' provide a vivid window into Ginny's pre-treatment world." -School Library Journal
  • "Based on Lyon's own experience, the sensitively written story radiates empathy and good humor." -Booklist

Similar books.
  • The Patch by Justina Chen Headley
  • Jacob's Eye Patch by Beth Kobliner Shaw and Jacob Shaw

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