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.