Smile!

Leigh Hodgkinson, Author, Leigh Hodgkinson, Illustrator . HarperCollins/Balzer & Bray $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-185269-5

À la Clarice Bean, this account of a bad mood is distinguished by the vivid, emphatic voice of Sunny, whose mother says she can’t have any more cookies until dinner. “I have lost something very, very important. What I’ve lost is my smile .” Sunny’s crayoned face has brown bangs, two little pigtail puffs, and big, quizzical eyes. Her domestic surroundings—aquarium, dachshund, kitchen table with a toy railroad encircling it—appear in quirky, childlike perspective. Is her smile on the floor of her room? “If there is a floor under all this stuff! I don’t think I have ever seen it,” she admits. Hodgkinson (Boris and the Snoozebox ) draws Sunny’s floor dissolving into a fuchsia ocean, as jellyfish swim by and playthings become underwater plants. Soon enough Sunny is playing cards with her dog and the spat with Mom is resolved, delivering a low-key message about distraction being the best remedy for the sulks. The text highlights Sunny’s engaging chatter with a variety of sizes and fonts. It’s a polished performance, and Sunny is a character that children will look forward to seeing again. Ages 2–6. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 12/14/2009
Release date: 12/01/2009
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