Future Reflections Spring/Summer 1993, Vol. 12 No. 2


by Virginia L. Kroll
Illustrated by Jill Kastner
(c) 1993 Caroline House/Boyds Mills Press, Inc.
(Dist. by St.Martin's Press) 31 p.; $14.95. Acquired 2/93

A Review by Ronald B. Meyer
Rating: \\\ (three canes)

This very brief story is about a young girl who knows it's springtime by a myriad of non-visual, natural signs.

Naomi Knows It's Springtime, by Virginia L. Kroll, is just fourteen glowing lines of text. Accompanying these lines are fifteen excellent pastel-colored, semi-impressionistic illustrations of this active, normal child.

Mrs. Jensen, next door, pities the blind girl. But Naomi plays with her dog, Damsel, hears newborn birds and gentle breezes, smells lilies and lilacs, feels warm beach sand and soft grass, and sees rainbows in her mind.

But does Naomi know she's blind? The word is never used in the text, or even on the book jacket. Indeed, even though Naomi enjoys life and springtime as much as any child, the author carefully avoids saying anything so blunt, as if such a word as “blind” is somehow unclean. It is as if admitting Naomi's blindness directly would spoil an otherwise idyllic picture of childhood. This is not a major objection, though I'm withholding one of the four white canes because of it.

Naomi Knows It's Springtime is a good candidate for print/Braille Production-like Twin Vision® (copyright)- and I understand a Braille-only version is under consideration. I recommend it for blind and sighted children and their parents because the text sounds to the ear like a lyric: it's that well written. And, in fact, I read the whole book out loud to myself in less than two minutes, so the warm and subtle springtime words won't try even the shortest attention span.

A note on the rating system: The long white cane rating system is similar to the “star” system for rating movies in the general media, though the cane rating pertains to depictions of blindness. The cane and tin cup can be used in combination.
\\\\ (four canes)=excellent; a must-see/read;
\\\ (three canes)=good; worth a look/read;
\\ (two canes)=fair; has problems;
\ (one cane)=poor; not very positive;
) (tin cup)=old fashioned, custodial.