A bad mood dogs different people in turn, while the fate of a stick dropped from a tree seems to move the bad mood along.
Curly, a little redheaded, white girl out for a walk with her mother and brother, is carrying around a bad mood (depicted as a multicolored cloud with a frowny face) because although they passed an ice cream shop two hours earlier, they didn’t get any ice cream. She finds a stick that had been dropped by a tree the night before and uses it to poke her little brother. She feels better, but now her scolding mother is carrying the bad mood. And so the bad mood moves on from her mother to a carpenter to a cat, to other animals and people, and the stick experiences a similar fate until it gains a new enhancement and is given a place of prominence, while the bad mood sails on. Snicket’s story takes unexpected turns and reveals delightful surprises, told with smart, silly language and cheeky asides; every page blooms with beautiful artwork done in bright, colorful gouache washes and featuring charming, 1960s-style animal and human characters. There’s even an interracial love story interwoven along the way.
Snicket’s fans will love this book, but readers need never have read a single word by the author to appreciate the wonderfully presented universality of the bad mood and how quickly a little thing can chase it away—or beckon it upon us. (Picture book. 5-8)