A confection of marshmallows harbors quixotic dreams of greatness.
“Most marshmallows don’t grow on trees,” starts this understated story. With quiet humor, the text informs children that, like them, “Most marshmallows are mostly born to one sweet parent or two,” and that “They go to school most mornings / and learn to be squishy and how to stand in rows.” Most marshmallows seem to navigate with equanimity the realities and dramas of domestic life, like a bursting backpack or a dinner tantrum. “But some marshmallows somehow secretly know / that all marshmallows / can do anything / or be anything / they dare to imagine.” The inventive, sly, mixed-media illustrations provide wit and delight only hinted at by the spare, idiosyncratic prose. A mixture of paper collage, photographs of objects (like a cardboard dinner table loaded with plastic carrots), and hilariously expressive line drawings on real marshmallows pack beauty, tension, and drama into each page. An unnecessary throughline involving dragons slightly mars the overall feel of the story, especially the jarring ending in which a marshmallow knight breathes fire at one; the humor and kid appeal work perfectly without that bit of pandering.
An amusing, subdued story with exemplary illustrations, this sweet flight of fancy will find a young audience eager to devour it. (Picture book. 3-7)