Book Review - The Pirate of Kindergarten

As part of National Inclusive Schools Week, all reviews this week will features stories about characters with special learning needs. Today's book:  The Pirate of Kindergarten by George Ella Lyon.

Author: George Ella Lyon
Illustrator:  Lynne Avril
Publisher:  Atheneum (June 22, 2010)
Reading Level: Ages 4 to 8 years
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Description from GoodReads:

Ginny was not born a pirate. But since her birth she was headed in that direction.
This book tells the story of Ginny's voyage towards earning herself an eye patch - a voyage made mostly at school.  No other kid there had the honor.  Words and pictures offer up a double helping of surprise on the subject of seeing.

When I opened this book and started to read it, I was planning on being a little skeptical.  However, I found myself quickly loving this book.   The author did a remarkable job dealing with the main character's vision issues and explaining it in a way that young children will be able to understand it.  Ginny is a child who loves school and wants to enjoy but is finding that some things are just hard. 

Through the illustrations, the reader is provided a visual on what Ginny is seeing (particularly the blurred/double-vision).  As to be expected, Ginny doesn't realize that how she is seeing the world isn't how everyone else sees the world until an eye test at school reveals that there is a concern.  Lyon nails it with this point.  There are so many parents that think their preschooler or kindergartner is seeing fine because they aren't complaining but this is in part due to the fact that children in this age range would have nothing to really compare it with.

Once her vision concern is identified, Ginny must wear a corrective patch.  The idea of the patch being similar to the pirate can be a fun way to help a child accept the eye-patch which can be uncomfortable to wear and make the child feel self-conscious.  

Overall, this is book is an excellent addition to any classroom or school library and a great book to read to celebrate National Inclusive Schools Week.  

Check in tomorrow for a review of The Junkyard Wonders by Patricia Polacco and a chance to win either The Pirate of Kindergarten or The Junkyard Wonders.