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Teacher’s Pets #24 Paul Needs Specs

Paul Needs Specs

Paul Needs Specs


written by Bernard Cohen
illustrated by Geoff Kelly
Kane/Miller Book Publisher
ISBN: 192913261
Ages 5-9

Paul asked, “Has the world gone fuzzy, . . .?” What a scary feeling to have your world blur in front of your eyes, especially when you are a child no bigger than Paul. The world hadn’t gone fuzzy or blurry or misty or foggy . . . well not really. But, Paul’s eyesight did. Author, Bernard Cohen takes us on a trip to the eye doctor. What a strange place that is! Paul tries many different lenses. Some make him see fat and some make him see tall and I wonder if some do nothing at all. Then Goeff Kelly adds his zany, very psychedelic illustrations, which will make readers howl. This book should definitely allay the fears of any child who needs to get glasses. PAUL NEEDS SPECS is a real eye-opener.

This review was originally published on SmartWriters and on

FROM the MOUTHS of KIDDLE CRITers: a critique group

“Paul needed specs because everything was fuzzy and blurry,” said Greg.

“Specs are some kind of glasses,” said Katie-Erin.

“Paul was bumping into things,” said Zach.

“I felt bad for him,” said Lucy, “because he was upset.”

“Paul felt kind of weird because everything was foggy,” said Anya.

“Well, if I needed glasses or spectacles,” said Philippe, “I would freak out.”

“Yeah! It would be pretty crazy, if I had to get glasses,” agreed Kurtis.

“They don’t make you look bad,” said Sarit.

“They just make you look unique!” said Marta with a grin.

“Right, because sometimes people don’t want to blend in with the crowd,” said Juan.

“Hmm, I think glasses always make you look smart,” said Philippe.

“This book reminds me of when I got glasses,” said Sarit, “but I don’t really wear them much.”

“Sometimes people tease people with glasses.” said Zach. “Sometimes they call them four eyes . . . uhhhh, no offense, Juan.”

“None taken,” said Juan.

“Well, I think teasing is a mean thing to do,” said Becky.

“I don’t understand why people have to tease people with glasses. There’s nothing wrong with them,” said Katie-Erin.

“It just makes them different . . . and different is all right,” said Marta. “Different is better than being the same.”

“Yeah!” said Pritka. “If we were all the same you couldn’t tell who was who.”

“And, kids wear glasses for their own good,” said Anya. “Who cares what other people think?”

“There’s a poem,” said Lucy. “It goes, ‘Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me.’”

“I sort of agree,” said Kurtis, “It should be normal for people to wear glasses.”

“I just don’t get it. They’re just glasses. What’s bad about that?” asked Marta.

“Yeah!” said Sarit. “What’s bad about glasses? Sometimes they make you look smart.”

“Like teenagers!” said Pritka with a giggle. “Teenagers get glasses to make them look smart.”

“I just think it’s crazy calling people names just because they wear glasses,” said Greg. “If they take them off they can’t see.”

“Well, in all my life of having glasses . . .,” said Juan, “since kindergarten . . . nobody has made fun of me.”


To SEE or NOT to SEE Health/Science

Most of us take our vision for granted. It’s there and we don’t much think about it. It’s not until we lose a sense do we become more aware of it. To raise sensitivity in children and make them more aware of their sense of sight, try the following activity.

#1 Split the class into teams with three members each.

#2 Give each team a paper bag filled with several familiar objects, such as a crayon, pencil, eraser, sock, mitten, penny, barrette, rubber band, paperclip, glue stick, etc.

#3 Two team members place blindfolds over their eyes.

#4 The first blindfolded team member chooses an item from the bag and, without looking, describes the item to the second blindfolded partner.

#5 The second blindfolded partner, also without looking, uses the clues his partner gives him to try to identify the object.

#6 The third team member is not blindfolded. His job is to record his teammates’ answers on paper, but he may NOT offer any help to his team.

#7 The team with the most accurate guesses is the winner.

JUST ADD “ed” Language Arts

Paul bumped, tripped, dropped, and spilled. Hey, that was a lot of past tense verbs

Have the children make a list of past tense action verbs and record them on the chalkboard or on chart paper. Next, using the list, have the children locate the verbs that fall into each of the patterns below. You may want to take it slow and practice each rule for several days before progressing to the next rule.

#1 Some verbs are made into past tense simply by adding “ed.” For example knock/knocked and work/worked.

#2 Other verbs need special operations. Notice the verbs that fall into the CVC pattern. (Consonant – Vowel – Consonant) They need to follow this rule, “Double the final consonant and add “ed” . . . like this, hop/hopped, slam/slammed.

#3 Then there are the verbs that end in “e”. They have a special rule to follow, too. “Drop the final “e” and add “ed.”

#4 Don’t forget verbs that end in “y”. That rule looks like this. “Change the “y” to “i” and add “ed”. Some verbs that follow that rule are cry/cried, try/tried.

Now have fun using all the rules to categorize the verbs that the children listed on their chart. Hey did you notice I used a past tense verb in that last sentence?

(Although I examined these websites and found them to be very helpful, please use them at your own discretion.)

CHILDREN TODAY: Four Eyes Can Be Fabulous:
When your child starts wearing glasses:


Baby Duck and the Bad Eyeglasses by Amy Hest
Glasses (Who Needs ‘Em?) by Lane Smith
Glasses for D. W. by Marc Brown

January 9, 2015 - Posted by | Teacher's Pets: Book Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Donna – You’ve put so much work into this post. It’s amazing in it’s entirety. I’m so happy I stopped by your second home!

    Comment by sheridegrom - From the literary and legislative trenches. | July 18, 2015 | Reply

    • sheridegrom,

      I’m so glad you found my other blog. I’m afraid between my two blogs and my website, I have no secrets. 😉

      I was a children’s picture book reviewer for Smart Writer’s Journal for many, many years.

      Donna O’Donnell Figurski

      Comment by donnaodonnellfigurski | July 22, 2015 | Reply

      • That explains why it’s so detailed and polished. I was positively amazed with the professionalism you presented and immediately set about letting people I know involved in children library programs and elementary school teachers know of what quality you presented.

        Comment by sheridegrom - From the literary and legislative trenches. | July 22, 2015

  2. sheridegrom,


    Thank you!!! That is wonderful news. I wish these reviews could get into every librarian’s and teacher’s hands. There are multiple components to the review.

    1. I reviewed the book. Publishers sent me hundreds of books and I would choose ones that I liked. I’d never review a book that I didn’t like – hence there are no bad reviews.

    2. Every month I would meet with a hand-selected group of elementary students ranging from 6-year-olds to 12-year-olds. Since I was a 1st and/or 3rd grade teacher, I would choose my “kiddle” reviewers from my classroom. Once inducted, they could stay as long as they wanted to. That’s why I had children all the way up to 12-years-old. (1st graders through 6th graders) We would meet for an hour and a half after school discussing the books we were reviewing. I would read the book to them and they would write their comments. Then I would digitally record their conversations and transcribe them to make the FROM the MOUTHS of KIDDLE CRITers: a critique group section.

    3. Under TEACHER TALK, I would provide at least two lessons plans, which I designed for the book. Teachers could use them with their classes. The plans were thoroughly thought out and were presented in complete detail. Many of the lessons I used with my own classes.

    4. Under SUGGESTED WEBSITES, I would search the web for activities for any pertinent information to enhance the learning experience with the book. (Unfortunately, as I was checking some of the links just now, I realized that some of them are dead.) The journal,, was alive and well from 2002 until about 2010 when the server it was being hosted on deleted it during an upgrade. Too SAD! I am so glad that I published all of my book reviews on my website, too, or all would have been lost.

    5. In the last component, SUGGESTED BOOKS, I searched my own book collection (I have more than 2,500 picture books.), the web, and my local library to offer book suggestions. I would make about four to six book suggestions based on the subject of the reviewed book. This way teachers could plan a unit around the theme, if they chose. This is a great way to introduce comparative literature to young students and steer them towards making good reading choices.

    A few years back I began to transfer the book reviews from my website to this more current site. But if you want to go back and look at the original site. it has all of the book reviews, about 60, that I have done and tons more stuff about me – more than you may EVER want to know.

    Sheri, thanks for commenting about this and taking me down memory lane.

    Teacher’s Pets (

    Donna O’Donnell Figurski

    Comment by donnaodonnellfigurski | July 22, 2015 | Reply

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