Thursday, August 26, 2010

Book Review: The Pirate of Kindergarten

My daughter heads off to Kindergarten next week. So, when the children's librarian contacted me recently to let me know that a new book had arrived called The Pirate of Kindergarten , it was particularly timely.  I'd heard of this new book but had yet to read it. My daughter, who patches for Amblyopia, doesn't particularly like pirates or being associated as such. In fact, she has come to detest pirates and anything to do with them.  When she saw the cover of the book with a little girl wearing a "pirate" patch she had a few choice words to say about it.

The Pirate of Kindergarten by George Ella Lyon is the story of a little girl, Ginny, who sees double. She loves to read and she is your typical little girl but she sees the world in a not so typical way - two of everything.  This makes school and reading particularly challenging for young Ginny who finds ways to work around seeing double (she shuts one eye).  In the book a school vision screen uncovers her double vision (diplopia) resulting in an eye doctor prescribing glasses and the use of an eye patch - hence the name "the pirate of kindergarten".  In the story the eye doctor gives Ginny two different eye  patches - one pirate style and another that is worn with glasses. Pirate Ginny takes on Kindergarten seeing the world in a whole new way (to her) and is confident and successful (with an eye patch).  

Despite not liking pirates, my daughter was very engaged when I read this book aloud to her. She looked on at the illustrations and she actually held tight to my arm as Ginny's struggles unfolded. The illustrations (by Lynne Avril) are vivid and spot on.  The pictures are drawn as if from Ginny's eyes with two of everything - it is as if you are seeing the world as Ginny sees it.

The Pirate of Kindergarten opened up a lot of good conversation between my daughter and I about her vision. Belle was very curious and rather concerned about Ginny's double vision and asked if she was going to see two of everything. I explained that she shouldn't be seeing double - but that if she ever does she needs to tell me and her eye doctor right away. She also asked me if Ginny has Amblyopia like her because she wears an eye patch. And lastly, she wanted to know if she was going to have to wear her eye patch at Kindergarten because she really doesn't want to be "The Pirate of Kindergarten".  That topic, in itself, will be a blogpost in and of itself. Ultimately though, we have this book to thank for coming to a common ground about patching and some very difficult but sorely needed discussion about about how it makes her feel and why it is so important that she patches every day (whether it be in school or out of school). 

Even though my daughter doesn't want to be a pirate in Kindergarten, she likes this book. We plan on adding a copy of it to our bookshelf after we return our library copy.

1 comment:

  1. impeccable timing for this book to come out for Belle!