Hungry after playing in the park, Sofia opens the fridge in Maddi’s apartment and finds only a carton of milk inside. Maddi explains that her mom doesn’t have enough money for much else. Sofia is surprised but promises to keep her friend’s secret.
Sofia is troubled. Her family’s fridge is filled to the brim with food. Even their dog gets treats each night as the family sits down to dinner. She decides to help Maddi but discovers the hard way that some foods, such as fish and eggs, do not travel well in a backpack. After several days, knowing her friend is going hungry is too much to bear, and Sofia decides to tell her mom Maddi’s secret. Speaking up releases Sofia from her burden of secrecy. The adults respond appropriately to the challenge, allowing Sofia and Maddi to go back to being kids. Though undeniably purposive, this title is notable. The bright, friendly illustrations soften the topic while still conveying the characters’ difficult feelings, such as worry and embarrassment. Gentle, age-appropriate humor releases the tension, keeping readers engaged as Sofia discovers how to best help her friend. A note at the end offers suggestions for helping others in need.
A thoughtful and well-executed look at the challenge of childhood hunger. (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-8)