cover image Cara’s Kindness

Cara’s Kindness

Kristi Yamaguchi, illus. by John Lee. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4926-1686-3

Olympic figure skater and picture book author Yamaguchi (Dream Big, Little Pig!) introduces an ice-skating cat named Cara in a story that, unfortunately, hammers readers with its pay-it-forward message. Practicing her skating, Cara notices a glum-looking dog sitting on the sidelines and introduces herself: “Hi, I’m Cara. As in caring about why you look so down.” After Cara gives Darby some skating pointers, the dog shares his lunch with Pax the Polar Bear, who helps Marky the Monkey retrieve his ball from an icy lake, and so on, until the acts of kindness come full circle with Milo, a blind mole, composing and performing the perfect song to accompany Cara’s skating routine. Newcomer Lee’s background as an art director at Pixar is evident as he creates an appealing cast of big-eyed, anthropomorphic animals in gestural scenes with the feel of storyboard stills. Yamaguchi’s goal of encouraging thoughtfulness is a fine one, but the sugar-sweet dialogue and heavy-handed messaging never let the book be anything other than an instructional tool. Ages 4–8. [em]Illustrator’s agent: LeighAnna MacFadden, LAM Creative. (Oct.) [/em]