Harold Peabody & the Magic Glasses

Children - Fantasy/Sci-Fi
157 Pages
Reviewed on 03/21/2019
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite

In Harold Peabody and the Magic Glasses by Dawn Kopman Whidden and O.M. Faye, Harold is travelling back to his mother's childhood town in Louisiana after his Navy SEAL father was killed in Afghanistan. Harold hopes they can begin to rebuild their lives and he can finally become a hero like his father. But with his 'coke bottle' glasses, Harold is just waiting to be bullied again. He doesn't have to wait long before the school bully, Jack, and his friends spot him. The gang terrorizes all the children at the school and soon it's Harold's turn. The bullies break Harold's only pair of glasses for fun. However, when Harold gets his new glasses, he realizes they have magic powers, giving him the ability to exact revenge on the bullies one by one. Harold revels in the suffering and embarrassment of the bullies. Soon Harold becomes the bully himself. Now he has a choice to make; does he want to inflict suffering on others or become a hero just like his late father?

Harold Peabody and the Magic Glasses is a powerful story that covers the widespread problem of bullying in schools. The characters are brought to life and each is created with unique personalities. I loved Harold as the main character, a caring and loving boy who is coming to terms with losing his father, and the relationship he has with his mother is so endearing. Mrs Ezzy was a breath of fresh air and certainly my favourite character. There are so many discussion points throughout this story that you can share with your children, not only about bullying but loss and relationships of all kind. I also thought the moral of the story shows that bullies are usually victims themselves, and the scene with Jack and his father is especially poignant. This is a must-read for every child to learn the importance of compassion, forgiveness and how making the right choices in life makes you a better person.

Jack Magnus

Harold Peabody & the Magic Glasses is a fantasy/coming of age novel for children and preteens written by Dawn Kopman Whidden and O.M. Faye, and illustrated by O.M. Faye. Harold and his mom had come home to the small town in Louisiana where she had grown up. Their lives in California had been abruptly uprooted when Harold’s Navy Seal dad had been killed in action. The shock of his passing had been compounded when they received word that another family needed the apartment they lived in on the base. Jonestown, Louisiana was a far cry from Coronado, California where his dad was stationed, but they really had nowhere else to go. It seemed like at least a thousand kids went to Harold’s school in Coronado. Here the town’s population was only 874; school and life here would be very different.

Harold Peabody & the Magic Glasses is an engrossing and well-written story about a seventh-grader who has not even begun to comprehend the loss of his hero father and whose opportunity to show the school bullies a thing or two presents an almost irresistible attraction. Of smaller than usual stature, red-headed and wearing thick glasses, Harold presents an ideal target for school bullies. Whidden and Faye’s story highlights the difficulty kids face in telling grownups about being bullied, and I would imagine that those young readers who have been treated like Harold will be cheering him on when his magic glasses give him the opportunity to equalize things a bit. But, like him, they’ll also have the opportunity to consider whether that’s who he is, and they are. Harold Peabody & the Magic Glasses offers educators and caregivers a grand opening for discussing bullying and the resources available to kids who are being victimized, all wrapped up in a marvelous coming of age story that addresses loss and new beginnings. It’s most highly recommended.

K.C. Finn

Harold Peabody & The Magic Glasses is a short work of paranormal fiction written for children aged 8 and upwards, penned by author Dawn Kopman Whidden and co-author and illustrator O. M. Faye. The story focuses on underdog Harold, the title character, who suffers at the hands of school bullies due to his small stature and extreme visual impairment. When his glasses are smashed and replaced, Harold discovers the new lenses allow him to see into the souls of those around him and discern their deepest fears. He sees the opportunity for revenge before him. Now, he has a chance to be brave and powerful like his late Navy SEAL father, but will the power go to his head and put a new, vengeful darkness into his heart?

Emotive and considerate, this is both a fun and moral tale which teaches important lessons about the nature of power, kindness and cruelty. Co-authors Dawn Kopman Whidden and O. M. Faye have done an excellent job in raising important issues through the character of Harold. I was sympathetic to his situation and his grief at first, but even the magical fix provided to him has its own problems and complications which need to be addressed. I enjoyed the other characters that he encountered, and how each of them had issues that can be used as talking points by teachers or parents, but also the characters were well developed in the world of fiction for an enjoyable read. Overall, Harold Peabody & The Magic Glasses is a recommended read for children and their guardians.