Format: Paperback (Hardback edition available September, 2019)
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 2-despite the wonderful message in the story
Genre: Picture Book
What did you like about the book? The message in this story is kindness and compassion for others and I think that can never get old in children’s books. In this story we meet a young girl named Sky who is busy baking gourmet cupcakes to sell and raise money for the local animal shelter. As she walks through her neighborhood selling her treats, she comes across a grumpy neighbor named Mr. Conway. He always seems to be in a bad mood and never really interested in talking with his neighbors–or buying any cupcakes either. As Sky continues with her walk, she notices a sale at a garden center and decides to check out the plants. She sees a bonsai tree and decides that is what she wants to bring home. The garden center owner informs her that bonsai trees require special attention but she will give Sky all the necessary instructions to help her tree grow. Just after Sky and her mother leave, we see Mr. Conway come in and also purchase a bonsai tree. Some time passes and Sky is making another round of cupcake sales. This time she approaches Mr. Conway’s door hoping that he will purchase some this time. Again, he says “no” but before he can shut the door, Sky notices his bonsai tree–a dying bonsai tree. Sky offers to help Mr. Conway with his tree and this leads to a special friendship between a little girl and a lonely elderly man.
Anything you did not like about the book. I loved the story and the message but I did not care for the illustrations. I cannot really put a finger on it other than in some parts of the legs and arms of Sky were so thin they reminded me of a stretchy character toy. This could just be a personal preference but I found the illustrations a little distracting at times and they seemed to take away from the important message in the story.
To whom would you recommend this book? I would say children between the ages of five and seven would either be able to read this book on their own or enjoy having the story read to them. It is perfect for children that enjoy stories about how we can all be a little more understanding of each other and help each other in times of need. It would be a great addition to an elementary school classroom or a guidance office to facilitate discussion on how to help others.
Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries, only for the content if they do not already have something on the shelves with the same message.
Where would you shelve it? Picture books
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Kristin Guay, former youth services librarian.
Date of review: November 13, 2019