A well-intended story with a sweet message.


A cheerful girl exemplifies kindness in Scott’s debut rhyming picture book.

A girl named Sunshine Cake awakens to a bright morning. After enjoying tea and a tart with her dog, Pumpernickel, she fills a pouch with “A dash of joy and kindness and sweetness beyond measure.” With the magical bag and Pumpernickel in tow, she heads outside and invites her new neighbor, a boy named Rev, to spend the day with her. The kids marvel at their surroundings and do good deeds; they mail a letter to Sunshine’s ill grandmother, sing and read to hospitalized children, and visit animals at the pound. Lastly, they stop for ice cream and discuss their day. Despite some clichéd sentiments (“It doesn’t take much to make the world a nicer place / …a kind deed and helping hand can put a smile on your face”), the rhymes are jaunty and child-appropriate. However, some elements are unclear, as when the text mentions a character named Lizzy without further explanation or illustration. Still, the book’s hopeful theme is effective. Scholes’ illustrations, accentuated with stars, musical notes, and twisty, flowering vines, also provide useful subtext; for example, when the main characters “visit kids sifting through a rough time,” the image depicts a hospital setting. Sunshine and Rev are Caucasian; other children have various skin tones.

A well-intended story with a sweet message.

Pub Date: July 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5255-2805-7

Page Count: 44

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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With the same delightfully irreverent spirit that he brought to his retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" (1987), Marshall enlivens another favorite. Although completely retold with his usual pungent wit and contemporary touches ("I don't mind if I do," says Goldilocks, as she tries out porridge, chair, and bed), Marshall retains the stories well-loved pattern, including Goldilocks escaping through the window (whereupon Baby Bear inquires, "Who was that little girl?"). The illustrations are fraught with delicious humor and detail: books that are stacked everywhere around the rather cluttered house, including some used in lieu of a missing leg for Papa Bear's chair; comically exaggerated beds—much too high at the head and the foot; and Baby Bear's wonderfully messy room, which certainly brings the story into the 20th century. Like its predecessor, perfect for several uses, from picture-book hour to beginning reading.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1988

ISBN: 0140563660

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1988

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Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children.


On hot summer nights, Amani’s parents permit her to go outside and play in the apartment courtyard, where the breeze is cool and her friends are waiting.

The children jump rope to the sounds of music as it floats through a neighbor’s window, gaze at stars in the night sky, and play hide-and-seek in the moonlight. It is in the moonlight that Amani and her friends are themselves found by the moon, and it illumines the many shades of their skin, which vary from light tan to deep brown. In a world where darkness often evokes ideas of evil or fear, this book is a celebration of things that are dark and beautiful—like a child’s dark skin and the night in which she plays. The lines “Show everyone else how to embrace the night like you. Teach them how to be a night-owning girl like you” are as much an appeal for her to love and appreciate her dark skin as they are the exhortation for Amani to enjoy the night. There is a sense of security that flows throughout this book. The courtyard is safe and homelike. The moon, like an additional parent, seems to be watching the children from the sky. The charming full-bleed illustrations, done in washes of mostly deep blues and greens, make this a wonderful bedtime story.

Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55271-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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