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The Patch    by Justina Chen Headley & Mitch Vane order for
by Justina Chen Headley
Order:  USA  Can
Charlesbridge, 2006 (2006)

* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch

One day at the eye doctor's office, five-year-old Becca is informed that she needs to wear eyeglasses and an eye patch to correct her lazy eye. Though not very happy about this turn of events, after some convincing by her mother, Becca shops for glasses and decides that 'purple glasses and a pink patch might be an acceptable fashion statement for a prima ballerina.'

The next day, Becca borrows her brother's pirate costume, wears it to school, and makes quite an entrance: 'Becca the Ballerina Pirate, who danced across the seven seas, twirled into her classroom.' She makes up countless stories about the purpose of her patch. By day's end, the whole class is playing the pirate game and wishing that they, too, had a real patch.

Becca is nevertheless honest when her teacher asks her why she is really wearing the patch. (At the back of the book, the author includes a notation about the condition of amblyopia, or lazy eye). At the end, Becca's best friend Sophia Lou comes to school with her arm in a cast - having learned a little something from Becca's example, Sophia Lou explains that she is a superhero who has the power to freeze anything with her elbow.

The Patch is about the power of imagination to turn a setback into something positive. Becca's creativity and intelligence make her an appealing character. The whimsical illustrations complement the exuberance exhibited by the children portrayed in the book.

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