Thursday, February 21, 2019

Review - Wish

by Chris Saunders
Date: 2019
Publisher: words & pictures
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

Wish is a touching story about the power of kindness and the magic of friendship with beautiful and emotive illustrations from Chris Saunders. Rabbit has never had a wish before but one day he gets not one, but three! He asks his friends what they would do if they had a wish and, being selfless and kind, Rabbit grants all three wishes to his friends.They are so grateful for his kindness and generosity they share their wishes with him.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This is a cute book about a rabbit who catches three wishes and needs to decide what to do with them. He asks his friends, and when they share what they would wish for, he selflessly gives up his wishes to make them happy, even though it ends up making him kind of sad.

I'm not sure what, exactly, the message is supposed to be here. Rabbit seems like a bit of a people pleaser, to an unhealthy degree. The message of generosity is nice, but I couldn't help but feel that Rabbit is one of those people who doesn't even know himself because he's spent his life doing things only for others. Every time he hears about his friends' wishes, he asks if that wish is for him. He can't seem to separate his wants/needs from those of his friends.

The illustrations are really adorable, and the depiction of the wishes as little fluffy balls is interesting. The soft colour palette makes this a relaxing sort of book to look at, and the rhyming text would make it pleasant to read aloud (the meter isn't perfect by any means, but it's not too clunky).

I was, however, a bit distracted by one phrase that was repeated throughout the book:

So off Rabbit went with a hop and a swish,
to ask his friends what to do with a wish.

Now, I realize this is a British book, but I'm not sure if the author is aware of the connotations "swish" has here in North America. (I probably wouldn't have even noticed if the word had just been used once, but it's repeated four times throughout the story.) It's a convenient rhyme for "wish", but it can be considered derogatory when it's used in reference to behaviour or mannerisms.

Overall, I liked the illustrations, but I'm not sure if I was sold on the story. There's being generous... and then there's giving to the point of harm. I think this book gets pretty close to the latter, given Rabbit's mental state after he gives away the wishes. The fact that he doesn't know what to wish for himself just highlights the fact that he's been so busy giving to others his whole life that he doesn't even know himself. I'm not sure that's the best message.

Thank you to NetGalley and words & pictures for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 4/5
Meter: 3/5
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 3/5

Overall: 3.29 out of 5

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