cover image Serendipity


Tobi Tobias. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, $12 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-83373-1

In this extended definition of the title word, readers learn that serendipity can make a good day even better (""Serendipity is getting to the zoo just when it's feeding time for the seals"") or it can be the saving grace for a kid in his darkest hour (""Serendipity is when you have to go to your grouchy Aunt Bea's house, and--guess what!--her dog, Banjo, just had puppies""). Occasionally Tobias (A World of Words) lapses into the mushy or the obvious (""Serendipity is meeting someone who's going to be your best friend forever""), but most of her examples include a nice twist (""Serendipity is when you find out you actually look better in glasses""). Reynolds (The North Star) provides sweet-natured and airy watercolor and ink cartoons. His palette, however, is distracting--he uses full color on some spreads and just one or two colors on others, apparently to highlight certain items (e.g., the eyeglasses that flatter the wearer are ruby in an otherwise violet composition). As pleasant as the book is on balance, there's not much depth; this is a slightly more sophisticated version of the old ""Happiness"" song from You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. All ages. (Sept.)