The Cute family consists of Mr. and Mrs. Cute and their five children. Early on, the book offer brief introductions of each child; for example, “Cammy loves everything that’s cute, and is crazy about animals,” while “Cade loves to read and figure out scientific facts.” Mr. and Mrs. Cute go out for the day and ask their 12-year-old daughter, Carissa, to keep an eye on her younger siblings. But there’s a problem: Carissa gets busy texting her friends and forgets to watch them—and her adventure-seeking brothers and sisters run off. The book then asks readers to help Carissa find them in 12 havoc-packed scenes. Among the places where Carissa must seek out her charges are a birthday party, a fair, a campground, a supermarket and a toy store. Adding to the fun is a host of humorous visual touches on each page, such as a boy with a fake fin on his head in a swimming pool, a group of children hypnotized by a picture of a black-and-white spiral, a frog in a pond doing the backstroke and a smiling pelican holding his great beak open for a boy to look inside. An art-studio setting features a wall of famous paintings that some children may recognize. Halfway through the book, the Cute family gathers at the dinner table, where the kids discuss their favorite experiences thus far; unfortunately, Celestial Noot’s stiff prose simply doesn’t do justice to Vincent Noot’s fine illustrations: “I loved the petting zoo. There were lots of animals there. I rode a horsey, I caught a frog, and I pet the sheep. They are so fluffy!” To keep young readers busy, however, there’s a list of items to find on each page; a handy answer section at the back shows the locations of all the children and items. If only Mr. and Mrs. Cute had a book like this to keep their pack from wandering.
A fun, engaging seek-and-find book despite its awkward prose.