cover image Stop and Smell the Cookies

Stop and Smell the Cookies

Gibson Frazier, illus. by Micah Player. Putnam, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-525-51714-6

A boy’s difficulty managing strong feelings repeatedly leads to trouble until he learns to “stop and smell the cookies” in this drama-filled picture book. Peach-skinned Dash doesn’t mean to act impulsively, but when he feels excited or impatient, he is frequently overcome (“His toes danced./ His fingers tickled the air”). In the span of two days, he is reprimanded for talking during karate, knocking over a plate of Grandma Noni’s cookies, ruining a friend’s birthday wish, and making a classmate cry. In a line of heavy-handed messaging, he says to his mother: “I know what’s right and wrong, but sometimes I just can’t help myself. Why are my feelings so much bigger than me?” Luckily, Mom comes to the rescue with a visualization exercise that Dash tries out the very next day, and models for readers who might relate to his challenges. Player’s bright digital drawings depict Dash’s highs and lows with a verve that elevates Frazier’s well-intentioned storytelling. Ages 4–8. (July)