BELLA'S BEST OF ALL by Jamie Harper


by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 2 - 4
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A little mouse compares her things to her mother's, and all but one come up short.

"My purse is good..." begins Bella, looking at her child's handbag, which is purple with a flower on it. "Mommy's is better," she continues after the page turn, and there she is, sitting next to her mother's zebra-striped pocketbook, its contents strewn about: compact, cellphone, wallet, and keys. Likewise, Bella's necklace (macaroni) is good, but her mother's (pearls) is better. Through shoes, paint (Mommy's is nail polish), bubbles, and more, Bella cheerfully considers the superiority of her mother's accoutrements, until she gets to "Mommy's cat" and realizes her toy kitty—"the best of all"—is missing and hunts frantically for it. It's a thin premise for even 32 pages. Readers may well tire of the unspooling comparisons before reaching the lost-kitty crisis. Harper's mixed-media illustrations are bright and friendly, but their handmade look works against her conceit: Mommy's things don't look all that grown-up by comparison with Bella's. She also misses an opportunity by concealing the toy kitty from both readers and Bella while it is "lost" in the folds of Mommy's wedding gown, in which Bella is playing dress-up. While the situation is believable, making bits of is visible would have given children something to look for along with Bella; as it is, they can only sit passively and worry.

Cute, but a miss nevertheless. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 5th, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-7624-5819-6
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2015


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