FOUR EYES

From the Four Eyes series , Vol. 1

A realistic, funny, and heartfelt framing of the hardships of middle school and fitting in.

The first in a new series, this graphic memoir follows popular author for young people Ogle’s transition to middle school, a time when things were anything but clear.

New sixth grader Rex is ready to take on his first day of middle school with his best friend, Drew, by his side. But when he can’t seem to open his locker, loses Drew to the popular crowd, and attracts negative attention for being short and on the free lunch program, middle school suddenly doesn’t seem so great. At home, Rex helps take care of his younger half brother while his working-class mom and stepdad struggle to make ends meet. His absentee father is emotionally distant and stingy, despite having more disposable income. Things really start to go south when Rex’s vision becomes blurry, and a trip to the optometrist (“¡Eye Caramba!”) confirms his worst nightmare—he needs glasses. Unfortunately for Rex, his Mexican American mom and White stepdad can only afford the ugliest, cheapest frames. Over the course of the school year, Rex begins to rebuild his confidence and identity with the help of his family and newfound friends. Readers will deeply care for Rex’s journey toward self-acceptance, his familial relationships, and his navigation of a new school environment. The bright, clean art emphasizes the emotional highs and lows. Supporting characters are racially diverse, and Rex’s stepfather has a stutter.

A realistic, funny, and heartfelt framing of the hardships of middle school and fitting in. (Graphic memoir. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 2, 2023

ISBN: 9781338574975

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2023

GUTS

With young readers diagnosed with anxiety in ever increasing numbers, this book offers a necessary mirror to many.

Young Raina is 9 when she throws up for the first time that she remembers, due to a stomach bug. Even a year later, when she is in fifth grade, she fears getting sick.

Raina begins having regular stomachaches that keep her home from school. She worries about sharing food with her friends and eating certain kinds of foods, afraid of getting sick or food poisoning. Raina’s mother enrolls her in therapy. At first Raina isn’t sure about seeing a therapist, but over time she develops healthy coping mechanisms to deal with her stress and anxiety. Her therapist helps her learn to ground herself and relax, and in turn she teaches her classmates for a school project. Amping up the green, wavy lines to evoke Raina’s nausea, Telgemeier brilliantly produces extremely accurate visual representations of stress and anxiety. Thought bubbles surround Raina in some panels, crowding her with anxious “what if”s, while in others her negative self-talk appears to be literally crushing her. Even as she copes with anxiety disorder and what is eventually diagnosed as mild irritable bowel syndrome, she experiences the typical stresses of school life, going from cheer to panic in the blink of an eye. Raina is white, and her classmates are diverse; one best friend is Korean American.

With young readers diagnosed with anxiety in ever increasing numbers, this book offers a necessary mirror to many. (Graphic memoir. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-545-85251-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

THE BOY WHO FAILED SHOW AND TELL

Though a bit loose around the edges, a charmer nevertheless.

Tales of a fourth grade ne’er-do-well.

It seems that young Jordan is stuck in a never-ending string of bad luck. Sure, no one’s perfect (except maybe goody-two-shoes William Feranek), but Jordan can’t seem to keep his attention focused on the task at hand. Try as he may, things always go a bit sideways, much to his educators’ chagrin. But Jordan promises himself that fourth grade will be different. As the year unfolds, it does prove to be different, but in a way Jordan couldn’t possibly have predicted. This humorous memoir perfectly captures the square-peg-in-a-round-hole feeling many kids feel and effectively heightens that feeling with comic situations and a splendid villain. Jordan’s teacher, Mrs. Fisher, makes an excellent foil, and the book’s 1970s setting allows for her cruelty to go beyond anything most contemporary readers could expect. Unfortunately, the story begins to run out of steam once Mrs. Fisher exits. Recollections spiral, losing their focus and leading to a more “then this happened” and less cause-and-effect structure. The anecdotes are all amusing and Jordan is an endearing protagonist, but the book comes dangerously close to wearing out its welcome with sheer repetitiveness. Thankfully, it ends on a high note, one pleasant and hopeful enough that readers will overlook some of the shabbier qualities. Jordan is White and Jewish while there is some diversity among his classmates; Mrs. Fisher is White.

Though a bit loose around the edges, a charmer nevertheless. (Memoir. 8-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-64723-5

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

Close Quickview