A sweet, magical tale with a tender life lesson.

THE CANDY DISH

A little girl receives a very special gift, but she is not entirely satisfied.

When the pretty covered dish appears, the girl lifts its lid and finds one piece of candy. It is absolutely delicious, making her feel like the freedom and playfulness of a summer day. Of course she now wants more, but the lid will not open again no matter how she tries. She doesn’t feel fortunate to have received this gift—only upset that she can’t have more candy. The next morning she is surprised when the box easily opens to reveal a new piece of candy, even more delicious, filling her with playful joy. But the frustration of the day before returns as she unsuccessfully, even violently, attempts to get another piece of candy. The third day sees her planning to throw the box in the trash in utter defeat, but the lid once again opens, and she is gifted with another candy. But this time she reacts differently. From the beginning the narrator lets readers know that this girl is both unique and just like any other child. As the tale unfolds there are gentle admonishments about the girl’s sense of entitlement and the absence of gratitude or appreciation. When she finally understands her amazing gift, she delights in it and realizes that each piece of candy is like each day of her life, to be savored gratefully. Lirius’ lovely and ethereal illustrations bring Yamada’s loving philosophical lessons to life. The girl has loose, dark curls and light-brown skin; overall, the palette is dominated by blues, yellows, and browns.

A sweet, magical tale with a tender life lesson. (Picture book/fantasy. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-970147-59-9

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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A sweet gift to praise spirited individuality, this choice encourages readers to dream big. Let those sparkles fly! (Picture...

HAPPY DREAMER

Displaying his distinctive voice and images, Reynolds celebrates the joys and challenges of being a creative spirit.

“I am a HAPPY DREAMER,” cheers a thin, spiky-haired white boy as he flies skyward, streaming yellow swirls of sparkles. This little “dreamer maximus” piles on the energy with colors and noise and the joy-filled exuberance he has for life. “Wish you could HEAR inside my head / TRUMPETY, ZIGZAG JAZZ!” With clear honesty, he shares that the world tells him to be quiet, to focus and pay attention. Like a roller-coaster ride, Reynolds’ text and illustrations capture the energetic side of creativity and the gloom of cleaning up the messes that come with it while providing a wide vocabulary to describe emotional brilliance and resilience. The protagonist makes no apologies for expressing his feelings and embracing his distinct view of the world. This makes him happy. The book finishes with a question to readers: “What kind of dreamer are you?” Hinging outward, the double-page spread opens to four panels, each with a dozen examples of multiracial children being happy and being dreamers, showing inspiring possibilities for exploration. The best way, of course, is to “just BE YOU.”

A sweet gift to praise spirited individuality, this choice encourages readers to dream big. Let those sparkles fly! (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-86501-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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A deliciously sweet reminder to try one’s unique best.

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THE SMART COOKIE

From the Food Group series

This smart cookie wasn’t alwaysa smart cookie.

At the corner of Sweet Street stands a bakery, which a whole range of buns and cakes and treats calls home, including a small cookie who “didn’t feel comfortable speaking up or sharing” any ideas once upon a time. During the early days of gingerbread school, this cookie (with sprinkles on its top half, above its wide eyes and tiny, smiling mouth) never got the best grades, didn’t raise a hand to answer questions, and almost always finished most tests last, despite all best efforts. As a result, the cookie would worry away the nights inside of a cookie jar. Then one day, kind Ms. Biscotti assigns some homework that asks everyone “to create something completely original.” What to do? The cookie’s first attempts (baking, building a birdhouse, sculpting) fail, but an idea strikes soon enough. “A poem!” Titling its opus “My Crumby Days,” the budding cookie poet writes and writes until done. “AHA!” When the time arrives to share the poem with the class, this cookie learns that there’s more than one way to be smart. John and Oswald’s latest installment in the hilarious Food Group series continues to provide plenty of belly laughs (thanks to puns galore!) and mini buns of wisdom in a wholly effervescent package. Oswald’s artwork retains its playful, colorful creative streak. Although slightly less effective than its predecessors due to its rather broad message, this one’s nonetheless an excellent addition to the menu.(This book was reviewed digitally.)

A deliciously sweet reminder to try one’s unique best. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-304540-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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