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BIRDY'S SMILE BOOK by Laurie Keller


by Laurie Keller & illustrated by Laurie Keller

Age Range: 6 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 28th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8050-8883-0
Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

To Birdy and her dog French Fry, smiles are a necessity and come in many forms. Birdy's monologue celebrating smiles is ingenuously childlike in its tendency to jump from thought to thought—"I can't see my grandpa's smile because his mustache is soooo big it covers his whole mouth! / But somehow I can always tell when he's SMILING. / Grandpa says my smile can light up a room. / I wish it could CLEAN up a room, too." It's also encyclopedic, folding in such disparate concepts as endorphins, cheese, gelatologism (the study of smiles), George Washington and his dental problems and tears of joy. The collaged illustrations are bold and textured and occupy white space in Keller's characteristically exuberant style. The narrative voice and illustrative feel--it even ends with a mirror, a feature normally found in books for babies and toddlers--are at odds with much of the content, which requires the sense of humor and irony of an older child. Whether they will embrace the presentation and Birdy's exhaustive salute remains open to question. (Picture book. 6-8)