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CALVIN, LOOK OUT! by Jennifer Berne


A Bookworm Birdie Gets Glasses

by Jennifer Berne ; illustrated by Keith Bendis

Pub Date: Aug. 5th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4549-0910-1
Publisher: Sterling

A starling gets spectacular specs.

Something’s wrong at book-loving Calvin’s library: Words look blurry, and he trips over a chair. The librarian opines farsightedness, so Calvin researches it, then visits the optometrist. An eye test and a fitting later, Calvin proudly heads home sporting brand-new “spectacles, as he prefer[s] to call them.” Merciless teasing ensues from his scoffing flock, but Calvin doesn’t mind, recalling bespectacled luminaries he’s read about. Later, on a forest walk, he’s accidentally pinned under a huge rock. (His glasses don’t break.) Calvin remembers reading about how Archimedes once used mirrors to reflect sunlight and save lives. Applying this principle, Calvin reflects sunlight with his glasses and successfully sends a distress signal to which his flock responds. Afterward Calvin recounts his adventure and how his glasses effected his rescue. Surprise: All the birds want glasses, too, in order to be “cool like Calvin,” and now all migrate in their own spectacular spectacles, cool and happy. The book means well and aims to assure new young eyeglass wearers they’re smart and will be readily accepted into their own flocks. However, the story’s more obviously preachy than convincing. The specs-wearing greats Calvin remembers—Gandhi, Ben Franklin and John Lennon—will be way over preschoolers’ heads. The watercolor illustrations are quirky and lively; colored words set in larger capitals highlight dramatic story points.

A tad didactic, but Calvin does look cool.

(Picture book. 4-7)