Thursday 8 August 2019

The Boy in the Big Blue Glasses by

The Boy in the Big Blue Glasses by Susanne Gervay, illustrated by Marjorie Crosby-Fairall (EK Books) RRP HB $24.99
ISBN 9781925335996

Reviewed by Kylie Buckley

Young Sam makes it very clear from the outset that he does not want glasses. In Sammy’s world, superheroes and imaginative play reign supreme, and he enjoys the status quo. He is quite happy to stand out in ways he can control (he wears a superhero outfit everywhere he goes) but he is not yet prepared for being ‘different’ beyond his control. This is the point where the adults in his life would presumably help him navigate his way. Unfortunately for Sam, everyone overcompensates adding to his sadness and frustration.

When Sam’s family first see him in his big blue glasses, they all act surprised and pretend not to recognise him. Then they shower him with complements about how handsome he is. Sammy states that he doesn’t want to look handsome, or different, he just wants to be Sam!
Problems also arise when Sam goes to school. His teacher claims not to know who he is either. She then invites Sam to stand in front of the class for everyone to try and notice what’s different about him. Sammy is not impressed.
While the family and teacher’s comments are made with fun and jest, Sammy’s young mind doesn’t see the humour, and it only makes him uncomfortable and confused. He doesn’t like the attention and is adamant that he is not different… ‘No one sees who I am anymore.’

Sadly, these encounters result in Sam not wanting to go to school anymore and his deliberately trying to lose his glasses. When his best friend is absent from school one day Sam doesn’t have anyone to play with or anyone to stick up for him when classmates call him names. At first, he tries to hide away and sulk but soon remembers that’s not what superheroes do. So, with some courage and a ‘if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em’ approach, Sam soon makes his classmates laugh and, in the process, makes some new friends and is seen for who he is.

The Boy in the Big Blue Glasses is a picture book suitable for children aged 4-8 years. The illustrations are beautiful throughout and perfectly capture Sam’s experiences and emotions. This book would be a great addition to the primary classroom to initiate discussion about diversity, acceptance and uniqueness. There are plenty of lessons to be learnt for children and adults alike!

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