cover image Birdy's Smile Book

Birdy's Smile Book

Laurie Keller, Holt/Ottaviano, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8050-8883-0

In this cheerful advice manual, a redheaded optimist explains her philosophy. "I think the first person you see each day should look happy to see you," says Birdy, waving at herself in her bedroom mirror. She muses on the expression "say, ‘cheese!' " and when she attempts to let a smile be her umbrella, she gets drenched ("So I made up a new saying—‘Let an umbrella be your umbrella' "). Yet Birdy is no Pollyanna. She lists things one can try while smiling, such as "climb a tree" and "stand on your head," and when someone adds "eat broccoli" to her list, she chides the unseen contributor. And while Birdy enjoys being silly, she is not sugar-sweet: "My smile knows when to leave me alone... and when to come back." Keller's (Do Unto Otters) goofy, buoyant cartoons, underscored with curlicue display type, set an upbeat tone that's in keeping with Birdy's attitude. A flexible mirror embedded on the closing page, "so you can practice your smiling, too," gives instant confirmation of whether Birdy's advice has hit its mark. Ages 5–8. (Oct.)