Review: The Boy In The Big Blue Glasses
Sammy is sad. His eyesight is not the best but worse is his dented sense of self-esteem and identity. Forced to wear big blue glasses to enable better sight, Sammy feels they now segregate him from the rest of the world: his peers and family. All he wants is to feel like his old-self again. He does everything he can to bypass wearing his glasses but they always find their way back to him.
Despite assurances from the grown-ups in his life that the glasses make him look more handsome and heroic than he's ever looked (their acclamations only serve to define his difference), Sam is unconvinced, feeling lost, alienated and alone, even more so when one disastrous school day, his best friend, George is away sick.
Then, after a few innocent digs from his classmates persuade him to clean his glasses, Sam discovers a whole different world within his classroom and his way of viewing his situation dramatically improves.
Gervay's considered story from a small boy's point of view is suffused with enough emotional syntax and plenty of child-relatable context to ensure even the youngest of readers will appreciate and, in many cases, connect personally with, Sammy's dilemma. Childlike imagination and real-life expectations meld harmoniously together into an expose of the very real problem of undiagnosed vision impairment within classrooms and the impact it can have on young students.
Crosby-Fairall's all-encompassing illustrations sweep across every page, decadent in detail and beautiful muted colour, each brilliantly bringing into focus Sam's true feelings and unique perspective of his blurred world.
Stigmas can arise from nearly any situation; feeling different because you look different can lead to exclusion and deficits in confidence, detrimental factors that chip away at a child’s emotional resilience. The Boy in the Big Blue Glasses triumphantly commands we recognise and acknowledge that having to wear glasses – even big bold blue ones - (or deal with any new adjustment to the norm) is no small deal for kids and can’t always be magically made better by trying to persuade them they are something or someone they do not feel.
The Boy in the Big Blue Glasses is a treasure to share and not just with those little ones who find themselves suddenly bespeckled (although this story makes an excellent vehicle for easing into the transition of wearing glasses). It is also a subtle cry out to carers and grownups to heed the negative effects of overstated affirmation.
Title: The Boy In The Big Blue Glasses
Author: Susanne Gervay
Illustrator: Marjorie Crosby-Fairall
Publisher: EK Books, $24.99
Publication Date: July 2019
For ages: 4 – 8
Type: Picture Book
Buy the Book: EK Books, Boomerang Books
Join Susanne and Marjorie at the official book launch of The Boy In The Big Blue Glasses - Tuesday 6 August 2019, at the Waverly Library, NSW.