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Thursday, January 24, 2019

AVA'S spectacular SPECTACLES, by Angela Rex and Angela Perrini. Kane Miller, Publishers Group Canada, 2017. $7.99 ages 3 and up

"Imagine if Hansel and
Gretel had worn their
glasses when they got
lost in the woods. They
would have seen the signs
pointing them home.

Ava looked brighter.

"Everybody knows
Humpty Dumpty's sad story ... "

If I had worn glasses from the time I was very young, I may not have wanted them so badly when I was in junior high. But, want them I did, and I never got them! Surprise! Then, when I was about fifty, my eyes started changing and I had a need for progressive lenses, for goodness sake. Mostly I needed them for reading. Since I read all the time, and didn't want to be taking them off and putting them on, my optometrist suggested a slight adjustment for distance. Voila! I could easily read every book I wanted to share with library classes!

All that to introduce this imaginative take on getting your child, who hates wearing glasses, to wear them. Ava is having a very tough time in school one day. She tells her teacher that she forgot her glasses at home. Being observant and knowing her young student well, Mrs. Cook decides to use this particular moment to teach a gentle lesson. She places a large book in front of Ava and suggests that things might have been different for Little Red Riding Hood.

"If only Little Red Riding Hood had put on
her glasses the day she went to visit her
grandmother!' said Mrs. Cook.

"She would have seen the big teeth and big eyes."
Ava looked up. Mrs. Cook turned the pages."

What an ingenious way to include some favorite folk tales and nursery rhymes that give Ava pause, and have her consider the real advantage of wearing glasses. She gains confidence as she realizes that some of her favorite characters should, perhaps, have been wearing glasses as well. Donning her glasses is the solution. Now, she can read again.

The digitally colored double-page spreads are most enjoyable, and add lively visual storytelling to the text. Original, charming, and fun, this story might be just what a young reader needs to encourage the benefits of wearing those dreaded eyeglasses every day.

For older students, what about offering up suggestions for other folk characters who might have benefited from available devices.

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