Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Flabbersmashed About You by Rachel Vail, Illustrated by Yumi Heo

Flabbersmashed About You

This lovely picture book tells the story of Katie Honors, "a really friendly kid" whose best friend is Jennifer.  Jennifer's smile "is as bright as the morning sun in your eyes."  They always play together and walk in together from recess -- always, that is, until today.  Suddenly Jennifer is playing with Roy, and Katie is left out and hurt.  "My whole self felt like a bruise."  Worse yet, Katie and Roy hold hands to walk in together.  Katie is left feeling flabbersmashed.  Luckily, Arabella, the quiet kid in the class, takes Katie's hand, and smiles a smile "gentle like the afternoon sun between the leaves." 

Flabbersmashed About You addresses a common concern for children in a simple yet entertaining story.  I liked that Jennifer is not portrayed as deliberately mean, instead, she is simply interested in playing with someone else.  Katie is still hurt, but she is open to Arabella's offer of friendship.  By acknowledging Katie's feelings but showing that other friends can also be fun, the book gently suggests a solution for children smarting over the shifting alliances between friends.  Yumi Heo's illustrations are bright and cheery, yet effective at portraying Katie's feelings when she is upset. 

This book is entertaining for anyone, and particularly good for instigating a discussion about feelings, friendship, and loyalty.  2012.

M. Adams

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