boy. A super hero. A brave pirate leads his crew of girls and boys. Until the
day Sammy feels different. He gets glasses. His parents, teacher, family are
happy for Sammy, because life is no longer blurry. So, the great
miscommunication begins. The super hero is still heroic, funny, determined as
he uses clever tactics and quick thinking to stay on top. But he’s losing his
special powers, as he feels no-one can hear him at home or at school. Sammy’s
self-esteem plummets, until there’s a crisis where Sammy is alone wearing his
big blue glasses. Things have to change. Through humour, self-realisation and
the indomitable spirit of kids, Sammy wins the challenge of change. The heroic
pirate returns leading his pirate crew.
A super book that has been carefully and skilfully created to comfort and
reassure children who are finding it difficult to adjust to wearing glasses.
The story is narrated by the protagonist Sam in a tone you would expect from a
young boy. The beautiful illustrations by Marjorie Crosby-Fairall really
breathe life into the characters.
Superhero Sam has had to get glasses – big blue ones – but he doesn’t like them. They make his ears hurt and even though, his well-meaning parents and grandparents and even his teacher say he looks handsome in them, he hates that. It’s as though it’s all about his glasses and he, himself, is invisible. They make such a fuss about this new superhero, it’s as though they’ve forgotten the old superhero he was before.
His best friend George still knows him and plays with him though, but then the day comes when George is not at school and the other children start to make fun of him…
Every now and then you pick up a story that really resonates with you and Sam was me 60+ years ago, my son 40 years ago and my granddaughter seven years ago. Each of us had to go through the trauma of appearing in public wearing glasses, and despite the well-intended comments of others, it’s tricky to know who you are when you don’t recognise yourself in the mirror but you know you are still you inside.
Sam is just one of hundreds of other kids who face this situation, and author Susanne Gervay is well-known for taking those everyday but confronting situations and putting them into the spotlight so the extraordinary becomes ordinary, and inspiring hope for happiness ahead. No one likes to be different when they are little and wearing glasses seems like a huge placard that tells others you are not 100% perfect and that somehow you are less than the other children in your class. Yet inside you know you are just the same person you were the day before when you didn’t have glasses.
Superbly and sensitively illustrated, this is a book that not only belongs in any collection for young readers and which should be actively promoted because so many children will see it as a mirror and learn to love reading even more as they read about themselves. Others might see it as a window and begin to understand how self-conscious Sam and others feel and how they can be more empathetic, rather than unkind like the children in the story who call Sam “googly-eyes” and “pufferfish”. It might even be an opportunity to explore other “disabilities” and the sorts of ways that science and technology can now assist in overcoming them comparing the advances to the days when no such help was available and life became a misery.
Excellent, down-to-earth, and one for everyone, glasses or not!
Creative Kids Tales Review
The Boy in the Big Blue Glasses by Susanne Gervay and Marjorie Crosby-Fairall.
Susanne has created an emotionally charged story that will resonate with many children and adults. For those whose struggle to see the world around them clearly glasses offer the gift of sight. As a longtime member of the four-eyes club, this story brought back memories of having to adjust to my new look while to still trying to be me.
Sam doesn't want glasses. They hurt the backs of his ears and no-one seems to recognise him. Sam just wants to be Sam, a masked superhero, son and friend of George.
Despite Sam's family telling him how handsome he is, nothing can lift his despair.
Miss May even tries to make Sam feel at ease by calling him to the front of the class. 'What's different about Sam? She asks. But Sam doesn't feel different, and this just makes his stomach hurt.
George, Sam's best friend, is the only one who doesn't treat Sam differently. George knows he can always rely on superhero Sam to save him from a hungry shark at playtime.
No-one else is listening, so Sam takes matters into his own hands. He tries everything he can to lose his glasses. But they always find their way back to him.
An unexpected change in the class leaves Sam feeling not so super. In a desperate attempt to fit back in, Sam tries something drastic, leaving him seeing the world differently.
I'm a huge fan of Marjorie's illustrations, and I was delighted to hear she was the illustrator for this story. You can easily feel Sam's moods with each carefully delivered brush stroke. Her commitment to the detail in the characters and their surroundings is exceptional. The colours are warm and inviting to the eye.
This book will promote discussion about inclusion, anxiety, fear, miscommunication, identity, friendship, acceptance not only from those around us but also from inside us and of course, glasses.