Cocoa Magic by Sandra Bradley, illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard

Cocoa Magic by Sandra Bradley, illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard. Pajama Press, 2022. 9781772782646

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Format: Hardcover picture book

What did you like about the book? Daniel was only four when he made his first batch of chocolates all by himself in his Great-Uncle Lewis’s chocolate shop.  By the age of eight, he was creating his own designs.  When a new girl starts at his school, looking lonely and sad, Daniel slips a chocolate into her desk to cheer her up.  It does!  He begins doing the same with many of the other students, cheering up the entire classroom.  But when his uncle has to go away for a few days, the shop is closed; Daniel will not be able to bring any chocolates or happiness to his schoolmates which makes him very sad.  He had thought that no one knew it was him providing the chocolates – but everyone knew!  The kids stuff his desk with all manner of little gifts in appreciation. Daniel had started a gift giving that spread throughout the entire school!

The illustrations (two-page spreads, with no borders), created in watercolor, gouache, oil, colored pencil and digital media, create a world of the 1920s evoking a time gone by.

Anything you did not like about the book? No.

To whom would you recommend this book? A nice readaloud to preschool, kindergarten and first graders depicting the kindness it is possible to create with such little effort.

Who should buy this book? Public and K-1 libraries, and nursery schools

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: Katrina Yurenka, Retired Librarian, Contributor, Youth Services Book Review

Date of Review: January 29, 2023

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