A worthy idea is lost in this ungentle metaphor for dealing with big problems in everyday life.
Poor Whimsy. She’s incapable of happiness thanks to the presence of four heavy, round “things” she must carry around with her (they look rather like bowling balls, but they are not attached to her in any visible way). She attempts to do away with her problems in a variety of unsuccessful sequences. After much deliberation, Whimsy changes tactics and breaks them apart, turning each heavy thing into something useful or beautiful: marbles, peach pits, etc. The story has good-enough bones, yet the writing is not up to the plot. Too on-the-nose to be an allegory and too didactic to pull off its message, this heavy-handed tale is helped not one jot by Kraulis’ oil-and-graphite images. Resembling nothing so much as a short 45-year-old in both her appearance and problems, Whimsy comes off as a poorly rendered escapee from an Etsy store rather than a living breathing character. Additionally, the muted palette of greens and blues, with the occasional yellow and red, shows little modulation after Whimsy’s transformation, keeping the emotional tone flat.
The message—tackle your problems by breaking them into smaller pieces—may be a worthy one, but breaking down this book only yields more and more problems for author and readers alike. (Picture book. 4-8)