Will three mysterious, anonymous gifts help beloved cafe owner Adele overcome her rainy-day blues?
This lengthy, sweet-tempered picture book offers as protagonist Adele, a petite, dark-haired white woman who is simultaneously gregarious and shy. Adele’s cafe, the Polka-Dot Apron, is the social hub of a village by the sea, rendered appealingly both in words and in soft, textured art seemingly done in colored pencil. The cafe appears to be open almost around the clock, closing for Adele’s personal timeouts and, occasionally, to accommodate her stay-in-bed depression during rainy weather. Adele is friendly to all, including Lucas, the young grocer who runs a weekly market inside the cafe. When Adele first finds a pair of bright pink boots near the coat rack, she assumes they were left behind by a customer. No one claims them, and, by the time she has also found a coat—in her size, like the boots—and a pink umbrella, both she and young readers will have guessed the donor. The ending is predictable, and, despite the word “friends,” it drips with as much romance as the clouds are dripping raindrops—but sweetly and appropriately. Skin tones on the retro-cartoonish characters vary some; all eyes are round, dark buttons. Adele and Lucas present traditional gender characteristics, with Adele “lively, sweet and sparkling,” and Lucas a handyman who “looks out for Adele.”
Engaging, lighthearted entertainment. (Picture book. 4-8)