The Patch


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About the Author

Justina Chen Headley is the author of NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH (AND A FEW WHITE LIES (Little, Brown), a young adult novel. She lives in the Pacific Northwest.


Five-year-old Becca is mortified to learn she has amblyopia (her right eye is stronger than her left). "Ballerinas don't wear glasses," she wails. "And they especially do not wear patches!" But by drawing on her vivid imagination and impressive leadership skills, Becca finds the courage to attend kindergarten the next day, and mesmerizes her peers with three new personas: Becca the Ballerina Pirate, Becca the Private Eye and even Becca the One-Eyed Monster. "By the end of the day," writes Headley (Nothing but the Truth [and a Few White Lies]) "the entire class demanded patches of their own." Unfortunately, the breathless, wordy text leaves little to readers' imaginations, while Vane's (Maddy in the Middle) cartoon illustrations seem equally frenetic (and her cast looks older than kindergarteners). Even the premise is problematic: given children's love of anything that looks rakish and Becca's own self-possession, readers may find it hard to believe that she had to invest so much energy to persuade her classmates that her patch is cool. Ages 5-8. (Feb.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

K-Gr 2-What could have been a saccharine and didactic message book about accepting differences is, instead, a lovely and surprising story that will certainly be enjoyed as a read-aloud. Becca's doctor discovers that she's got a lazy eye and needs a patch and glasses to strengthen her eyesight. The five-year-old is worried that the other students will think she looks stupid so, to boost her confidence, her older brother lends her his favorite pirate costume to go with her purple glasses and bright pink patch (this girl is clearly partial to pink). The bold hues in the cartoonlike watercolors reinforce Becca's and her classmates' energy. The students are fascinated as she plays Becca the Ballerina Pirate, Private Eye, and One-Eyed Monster before admitting the real reason for her patch. The illustrations dance off the pages, and Becca's exuberance shines through.-Genevieve Gallagher, Murray Elementary School, Charlottesville, VA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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