Bronco the nearsighted dog doesn’t feel worthy of a party invitation.
All the animals in the forest have been invited to a party at which guests will complete a puzzle with a piece they will “find…when [they] realize [they] are made purposefully.” But “because Bronco had terrible vision, he didn’t think he was special enough to go to the party. So he’d thrown out the invitation.” At Squirrel’s urging, Bronco abruptly changes his mind. Putting on his blue eyeglasses, he sets out, on the way meeting other animals who also feel they are unworthy of the invitation for various baseless reasons. He bucks them up so they join him, and they return the favor when he has second thoughts himself. They are all welcomed warmly to the party by Colby, the panda host, who produces Bronco’s missing puzzle piece. Bronco fits it into the center of the puzzle, but rather than expanding on the puzzle metaphor, Colby says, “Each creature is born unique. Our differences make us special.” (This sentiment is reiterated with a closing epigraph from Ephesians 2:10.) Concrete-thinking children may be distracted from the message by wondering just how Colby got Bronco’s puzzle piece. Moreover and troublingly, the story never explicitly dismisses Bronco’s disability as a reason to feel worthless, instead simply celebrating Bronco’s strengths, including his “gift of sniff.” (This book was reviewed digitally with 9.8-by-19.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 21% of actual size.)
Well-meaning but muddled.(Picture book. 3-7)