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REVIEWED: Three great books for kids

“Douglas, You Need Glasses!”

By Ged Adamson

Best for ages 4 – 8

Lots of kids wear glasses. Yet even with famous characters like Harry Potter out there, some children don’t want glasses — even if they need them.

“Douglas, You Need Glasses!” is a fun and subtle attempt to relieve the anxieties children have about getting glasses. Douglas’ misadventures in nearsightedness offer a loving humor that welcomes children in and embraces them with understanding.
Adamson uses lively illustrations and exciting colors to engage children in the eyeglass action.

After Douglas finds the perfect pair of glasses, he is amazed by how clear and wonderful everything looks. Although the text and illustrations are fun, it is the last pages that show photos of real children wearing glasses connected to a social media component that makes this book an excellent pick for children contemplating glasses.

What’s good: Includes real photos of real children and a social media component too.

What’s bad: Weak on information about eye exams, but a strong offering of empowerment.

“My Favorite Pets: By Gus W. for Mrs. Smolinski’s Class”

By Jeanne Birdsall

Illustrated by Harry Bliss

Best for ages 3 – 7

Pets come in all shapes and sizes. When Gus has to write a report on his favorite pets he doesn’t write about dogs, cats, hamsters or any of the usual suspects.

He chooses to highlight his sheep. Gus lives on a farm with his mother, father, little brother and 17 sheep. Every fun fact is told from his point of view and illustrated to bring out the humor in every situation.

Aside from explaining gender-specific names, most of the fun facts are really just an example of how sheep interact with Gus on the farm. The report covers what your mom will say when you dress a sheep in a scarf, what your father will say if you use a sheep as an umbrella and what they both will do when you shepherd your flock into the house.

The report is delivered in all seriousness. Laughter is brought to the forefront through approachable illustrations that highlight the ridiculousness of each situation.

What’s good: Humorous spreads keep children entertained and engaged.

What’s bad: It lacks a message for young readers.

“The Perfect Dog”

By Kevin O’Malley

Best for ages 4 – 8

Obviously there is no such thing as one perfect dog for everyone. But this book makes a go of illustrating many different breeds. After her father says her family can get a dog, one girl proceeds to describe what the perfect dog should be. Size — she’s unsure about Great Danes. Speed — greyhounds may be too fast. Hair, slobber and barks are also considered. When she finally gets the chance to search for a dog in real life she decides that it has to be happy. In the end, her perfect dog finds her. It won’t necessarily help children pick a new pet, but dog lovers will love this book anyway.

Dog breeds and doggie faces cover each every page, just waiting to be explored and examined.

What’s good: Quick text and strong visuals make for a good read-aloud story.

What’s bad: This will appeal mostly to dog lovers and not the general reader.

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