The whole family tries to help a little girl break a persistent habit in this German import.
When Mia is sad, she sucks her thumb for comfort. When she is excited, she sucks her thumb to calm herself down. And when she must face her neighbor’s large dog, she sucks her thumb to give herself courage. Mia’s family tries everything they can think of to help her stop. Familiar cries of “You are too big for that!” and “Your teeth will get crooked!” fill the house, but Mia doesn’t care. Even the promise of ice cream in exchange for a half-hour break from the thumb fails (but only after seven cones). Grandma decides that she will start sucking her thumb too; if Mia likes it so much, why shouldn’t she? That just might be the push that Mia needs. Stille’s picture-book debut confronts a common problem with a gentle, humorous solution. The large blocks of patterned borders and cut-paper collages in mossy greens and simple earth tones downplay any drama. An abrupt ending never quite reveals if Mia has conquered her habit (one wishes for an extra beat or two of denouement), but her thumb is finally seen out of her mouth.
Thumb-sucking solutions can walk a tricky line between cajoling and shaming; happily, this does neither, but it might not be the easiest solution to imitate in real life. (Picture book. 2-5)