This debut illustrated children’s book explains the benefits of positivity and optimism through two friends with opposite temperaments.
Although Charlie and Marley are close friends, they have very different ways of seeing the world. Charlie, a brunette with light brown skin and dark hair, always anticipates the worst, and is usually frowning. Marley, a lighter-skinned redhead, always expects great things to happen, and has a perpetual smile. Charlie starts her day in a bad mood, grumbling about how she hates everything. Marley wakes up cheerful, looking forward to a wonderful day. Not only that, the things they predict come true. Charlie is certain of a bad breakfast, and “sure enough, Charlie got just what she believed. The cereal was gone and the milk was gone.” Meanwhile, Marley knows “without a doubt” her favorite cereal and nice cold milk with be ready, and she’s absolutely right. The day goes on in the same pattern, and other children avoid grumpy Charlie. Finally, Charlie decides to ask her friend about her secret to happiness. Marley explains that you can choose to be grateful and content, and when Charlie tries it, she finds her new positivity turns her life around. Discussion questions and a word-search puzzle are included. In her book, Sardella spreads the message of positivity culture, which assures that optimism will manifest good results in a virtuous cycle, just as Marley’s cheerfulness guarantees her cereal and milk will be available. Positive thinking has many adherents, with a body of literature to support the idea that optimism can improve well-being, so parents who agree with this view and wish their children to adopt it may find this work a useful primer. But positivity also has its critics, who argue that it can, for example, suppress full expression of feelings and lead to magical thinking and kids blaming other people for their problems; parents will need to decide where they fall on this issue. The digital images by debut illustrator Torres have a bright, cartoonlike, appealing style that captures the girls’ personalities with effective details like Charlie’s unhappy-looking teddy bear.
A short and cheerful introduction to staying positive.