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My Travelin' Eye    by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw order for
My Travelin' Eye
by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw
Order:  USA  Can
Henry Holt, 2008 (2008)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch

This picture book is an autobiographical account of the author's experience with a travelin' eye when she was a little girl. (A note at the beginning explains the difference between a lazy eye and a travelin' eye, and it is noted that Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw had both conditions). It appeared that Jenny Sue was looking in both directions at the same time. 'My right eye is the navigator. It sees numbers. It's my guide. / My travelin' eye is the artist. It sees colors. It's the adventurer. Together, we make a great team. / My travelin' eye reminds me to look around. And up and down. To smell the flowers, kiss the butterflies, and read the clouds.'

At times, other children teased Jenny Sue and even her teacher thought she wasn't paying attention. After seeing an opthamologist, she had to wear both a patch and glasses. But even the patch became a source of pain for her - the others made fun of that as well. Encouraged by her mother, Jenny Sue designed fashion-patches for her eye and inadvertently started a fashion trend.

The collage-like, mixed-media artwork is amazing - there is a scene depicting how Jenny Sue sees the world through her impaired vision - allowing the reader to empathize with and better appreciate what it really feels like to have a lazy eye. I like the book's message of learning to deal with a problem in an upbeat and optimistic manner. Many children who have less than perfect eyesight or who have something that makes them different would benefit from My Travelin' Eye. And for another book about a child putting a positive spin on a lazy eye condition, consider The Patch by Justina Chen Headley.

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