A tiny tot learns that words can hurt.
One sassy girl is pictured in 10 different scenarios—each ending with a disappointed adult asking, “What if everybody said that?” These include making fun of someone else’s fashion sense, not sharing, pushing to be first, excluding someone from playground fun, quitting when your team is losing, etc. While the titular questions are different, the concept is very similar to Javernick and Madden’s previous outing (What If Everybody Did That?, 2010), although this venture does portray more inner turmoil than the earlier, with bubbles of victims’ hurt feelings and damaging thoughts. Even the simplest of words can strongly affect others. Madden’s mixed-media illustrations show a large, diverse cast, including men of color in nurturing roles and a child in a wheelchair who, unfortunately, does not appear after an early scene. Among other humorous details, frowning faces are hidden on inanimate objects, and even dogs and cats give judging looks to atrocious behavior. After a string of missteps, the misguided gal does realize the error of her ways, and all ends well. The protagonist has blue eyes, black hair, and light brown skin and is surrounded by a supporting cast of many races and ethnicities.
A reminder to be aware of what one says, as well as a discussion starter about actions and consequences. (Picture book. 3-7)