A photographic collection of found faces smiles up at readers, while overly upbeat rhymes try to instill a positive attitude.
Clever photos of everyday objects that reveal smiley faces hidden all around are the main focus, and they are almost enough to carry the book on their own. Two undone shirt buttons and the gap they leave form one smiley. Another is on the underside of a toy train. There is even a straight-mouthed face formed by the interplay between blue sky and heavy cloud cover. If nothing else, the photos are sure to get kids looking at the world around them in new ways. But this effort goes beyond, adding too much to too little and creating an unsuccessful hodgepodge. Her smileys are presented in color groups, but the pictures are so inherently interesting that their colors become secondary. Too, there is the problem that several of the smileys are difficult to see. However, it is in the rhyming text that the book finally falls flat. "Smile! Be happy! / You get to pick— / When something is icky, / Do you focus on ick? // Look all around / And notice the good! / Focus on that. / We think you should." The message and its delivery are disappointingly out of sync.
See the pictures without the treacly text and upload photo contributions to support Operation Smile at SpontaneousSmiley.com instead. (Picture book. 3-5)