Scarlett’s Spectacles a Cheerful Choice for a Happy Heart, by Janet Surette, illustrated by Shane Crampton. B&H Kids. 2019.
I first remember seeing this children’s board book and thinking to myself “I have to review this book! It’s perfect!” You see, there are two reasons that this book is great for my children. First, because it’s a board book. They last a lot longer in a household with four children, two of them five and under. But secondly, when it came up as an option to review, which was many months ago (more on that in a few), my four-year-old (now 5), was coming up on getting her first pair of glasses.
So, when it arrived, it was a hit. My younger daughters loved the book. And then…it disappeared. I don’t know how kids do it, but, wow, they can make things disappear for extended periods of time, and then BAM! They reappear out of thin air, better than Houdini could have ever imagined! So, now, months later, (late 2019 to early 2020), here we are, with an incredible book that helps not only kids understand contentment and discontentment, but also equips parents with an invaluable tool in how to talk to their children about the subject.
Janet Surette does an incredible job of using the object of glasses, something that everyone sees and many, many wear, to illustrated how we view things in our lives. First, we see the plain, brown, boxy grumbly glasses. As Scarlett looks through these, all the she sees is what upsets her, from chores to art, classes to treats. Having four children of my own, I see this in the lives of my kids, how they can bicker and complain about so much that is, in the eyes of an adult, so trivial.
Then, one day, Scarlett wakes up and tries on her “glad” glasses, and things really turned around. Instead of seeing what she wasn’t getting or didn’t want to do, she saw what she had and got to do, and was grateful for it all. The lesson is so simple, yet so profound, that even this father was greatly effected by the message, reminded that we must be grateful for the things we have.
The illustrations by Shane Crampton I believe are spot-on for this story. I am a firm believer that a children’s book should be able to be read by “reading” the pictures, and understood through those pictures without having to ever read the words. In this story, the narrative and accompanying lesson are dutifully taught through the illustrations. One can learn equally from Shane Crampton’s artwork as they can from Janet Surette’s words. However, the combination of the two make a masterpiece of a children’s book.
I highly recommend this book for all families with children, as it is a lesson that all children need to learn and one that many parents need help with. This book gets many more than two thumbs up…it gets at least six, from me and my two youngest!
Disclaimer: This book was sent to me free from the publisher for review