cover image The Bad Mood and the Stick

The Bad Mood and the Stick

Lemony Snicket, illus. by Matthew Forsythe. Little, Brown, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-316-39278-5

Curly wears overalls and two poofy pigtails. Her expression is stormy. A multicolored bad mood hovers above her like a cloud. Then she pokes her brother with a stick and cheers right up. Curly’s mother has the bad mood now; then it moves to a man named Lou, and from there “all over the world. You yourself had it several times.” All kinds of feelings prove contagious in Snicket’s story; the lowly stick spreads cheer in Curly’s town the way the bad mood spreads gloom. The story traces how chance knits together the lives of Curly, her family, Lou, Lou’s dry cleaner, and the ice cream man. Snicket doesn’t paper over the way the discomfort of others can turn a bad mood around; at the same time, he celebrates generosity, community, and the workings of fate (“You never know what is going to happen”). Forsythe’s sherbet-hued images combine big cartoon gestures with rich color. Snicket’s quirky narrative voice and observations of events both great and lowly make this a fine readaloud—and a sure cure for a bad mood. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Charlotte Sheedy, Charlotte Sheedy Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Judith Hansen, Hansen Literary. (Oct.)