The Pirate Of Kindergarten

Shiver me timbers!  Another rotten scallywag off of the library shelf.  What's with this run of bad luck we've been having? 

*Lynne Avril's depiction of the way the main character (Ginny) sees the world with double vision is realistic but also demonstrates the imaginative flair I demand to purchase an illustrator's work  
*George Ella Lyon wrote this from personal experience, and, to be fair, many of the emotions she felt growing up translate well as we read along
*Doesn't devote any text to the gender of the male nurse -- in some small way this will help reduce your kid's stereotyping of professions

*As you'll see in my opinion below, my biggest gripe is that this book should not have been elevated to elite status by any award-giving body 
*The whole pirate component doesn't even unfold until the last few pages, and even that's a huge stretch since the only link to the high seas comes from her wearing an eye patch for a week (oh yeah, and putting on a hat fashioned out of newspaper for all of one snapshot) 
*I don't understand how the writing team skipped over the ridicule a girl wearing a patch would face from her classmates after they spent the whole rest of the book showing us the lengths Ginny would go to avoid embarrassment caused by her poor vision

Today's selection won the (youth) 2011 Schneider Family Book Award, an honor given to books that excel in their presentation of a perceived disability.  With such a positive reference in it's corner, I assumed it would be a virtual lock for Borrow status, at worst.  I was wrong.  The 'disability' Ginny faced barely qualifies it for such an important award category, not to mention that the writing itself should have knocked it out of the running almost immediately.  ALA: Are you telling me that out of all the picture books published in 2010 with the youngest audience in mind that not one covered a topic with more gravity than TPOK?  I find that hard to believe.  It's only saving grace is that the subject matter makes it more universal; so, in that regard, it might act as a comfort to children (like me) who were forced to wear glasses from a relatively young age.  Still, even when you remove any undue praise a prestigious award like the Schneider might carry, it's no better than a swabbie scrubbing the deck on the big pirate ship of children's stories..

Buy / Borrow / DONATE / Destroy


Ali B said...

You slay me, Erik! I love your posts. In fact, I like you so much I just awarded you a Liebster Blog Award. So buzz on over to my blog and read all about your newly bestowed (and much deserved) honor.

Ali B.

Katie DeKoster said...

"Shiver me timbers! Another rotten scallywag off of the library shelf. What's with this run of bad luck we've been having?" These were the first ever lines that I'd read from your blog, and I knew right away I would like it here :) I've read TPOK and I, too, was surprised that it was an award winner. It's a cute story, but is it really that much better than its peers? I don't think so.