This is a tender book about a blind boy named Charles and how his first-grade peers are led to see past the handicap to an appreciation of Charles's different capacities.
In utterly natural scenes, the children at first talk ''around'' the boy, objectifying the handicap: ''You better not punch Charles''; ''Silly! Don't say, 'Look what I made.' Charles can't see.'' It is clear the children like Charles, for they talk about his being smart and capable, but they can't relate to his blindness. They're sure he must be sad because he couldn't ever really help or save anyone.
This, of course, is a misperception. And little by little the children begin to understand how he ''sees'' things. As lovers of heroes, for example, the children talk about Superman and ask Charles how he would recognize him. Charles says that Superman would ''smell'' like a really strong man and would have a big ''S'' on his chest that could be touched. This opens up a new way for the children to perceive things. And in an exciting playground experience Charles uses his unique talents and effective ways of seeing to rescue two of his friends - thus becoming the class hero.
Young school-age children could definitely benefit from this gentle, compassionate book, containing lovable and realistic illustrations and much heartfelt empathy for the way errors of perception are as quickly dismissed as they are adopted.