Friday, September 21, 2012
Book Review,by, Little Four Eyes, Ann Z.
Books about patching: Review“PatchLand Adventures: Fishing with Grandpa” “PatchLand Adventures: Fishing with Grandpa” by Carmen Swick is a book based on her son’s experiences with patching. Preston’s best buddy is his dog, Beau, and they do everything together, including wearing an eye patch to treat amblyopia. In this first Patchland Adventures book, Preston and Beau go fishing with grandpa. After a busy day of fishing, he heads to bed with his eye patch under his pillow. That leads him to dream of a world wear all the animals wear patches (and fly planes and play baseball). The next morning, he and his dog head to his eye doctor appointment where he learns that his eye is getting stronger, but he still needs to continue patching. His eye doctor also explains a bit about amblyopia and patching treatment. It’s kind of funny that this book, with a talking dog and dreams of other animals wearing patches, is really quite realistic, in some respects. I really appreciated the Preston’s honesty in the very first page of the book where he talks to his dog about needing to patch: “Mom says we have to put on our eye patches on so our weak eye can get stronger.” “I don’t want to wear it either, but we can do anything with a patch on.” This book is unique, too, in that it shows only the middle part of the patching journey – that long hard slog through patching every single day. It does not talk about the beginning of the patching journey, when a child first starts dealing with patching, and it doesn’t show an ending of the patching either. While Preston’s vision has improved at the end of the book, he still needs to continue patching. When Zoe first read this book over a year ago, she was in the midst of patching, and about to head out to her first follow-up visit. I really appreciated the fact that this book helped to raise the possibility that her doctor might tell her she’d need to continue patching (and indeed, that’s what happened). Zoe enjoyed the book, and I think, related to the character of Preston, who did not like wearing an eye patch, but still did so and continued to pursue his favorite activities while patching. The story is told all through dialogue between the characters, with Preston narrating the dream. It is laid out a little like a comic book, with each page a separate panel, and the dialog set near the character speaking it. The illustrations, by Joey Manfre, are simple and bold. It is not my favorite style of illustration, but it fits the story. The author, Carmen Swick, has written two other stories about Preston’s PatchLand adventures. Book two “Camping at Mimi’s Ranch” is expected to be published this fall. She writes more about her family’s experiences on her blog Patch Land Writings. Full disclosure: I did receive a copy of her book for free last year when Zoe was going dealing with amblyopia. I do not believe that has influenced my review.