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This piece is for a proposed children's book about a near-sighted girl named Verona. All of the blurry things she imagines—jewels, knights, and spaceships—are, of course, the result of her poor sight.

Words © 2006 by Benny Zadik
Illustrations © 2007 Angela Chan

The Two Clashing Views of Verona

Writing Sample

Once, not very long ago, in a place not so far away, lived a girl named Verona. She boasted a fantastically full, haphazardly happy, and beautifully blurry life.

Jeweled path

Each morning she walked upon a sparkling, jewel-studded path, over a bridge…

over a bridge

through a snow-tipped green field, where armored knights saluted her as she passed.

Ivory Spaceship

At school, which was nothing less than an ivory spaceship,

Math teacher

a giraffe taught her grammar, and a grumpy frog taught her math.

Fuzzy Friends

Her fuzzy-looking friends seemed more or less alike, though some were fluffier than the rest.

Past the castle

One day, when her mother picked Verona up from school, they did not go home to their gray castle beyond the bridge.


Instead, they stopped off to see the optometrist, a tall man who looked strangely like an owl.


He asked her to read strange letters and numbers from across the room.

Eye Chart

But all Verona saw were worms, and snails, and salamanders—which was strange, because she was not quite sure what a salamander was!


“I see,” said the optometrist ruffling his feathers, “you’ll need a very strong pair.”
“A pair of what?” wondered Verona.


Drive home

Her mother drove her home...
through the green field, over the bridge, and up the jewel-studded path.


It wasn’t for a week until Verona saw the owl again. This time he gave her a new pair of glasses to wear. “Now you’ll be able to see cleary,” he said.


Verona put on the glasses, and suddenly the worms, and snails, and salamanders became letters and numbers.


And the owl—well, he was a man wearing glasses just like her own!

Rundown school

On the way home Verona was shocked to learn that her the ivory spaceship was in fact just a tumbledown school.

Trash can

and the knights in shining armor were only trash cans…

Plain cement

and the jewel-studded path was ordinary cement.

She threw them in the trash

“These glasses must be broken!” sighed Verona. And she threw them in the trash.


Verona decided to live her life as blind as could be, if only to keep her hazy, hap-hazardous things—the things that only Verona could see.

Curiosity got to her.

But the next day she awoke with a different view. Curiosity got to her. She pulled the pair out of the bin.


She realized that her mother’s face was delicate and finely featured,


that her pet lion was in fact a sunflower…


and that the penguin that lived with them was actually her dad!


And when she looked in the mirror, she saw a brand new Verona—a Verona who was finer, fairer, and more fabulous than she had ever believed.


Verona saw one other important thing very clearly, too. That was that she could wear her glasses whenever she needed,


and she could lift them off whenever she pleased.


And be with her knights and jewels, and spaceships,


without ever losing what she’d gained.


© 2006 by b.z.