Monday, December 13, 2021

Review - The Smile Shop

The Smile Shop

by Satoshi Kitamura
Date: 2021
Publisher: Peachtree Publishing Company
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: library

Critically-acclaimed author-illustrator Satoshi Kitamura (Hat Tricks) celebrates the value of human connection in this hopeful picture book about the effect of a smile shared between people.

A small boy has saved all his pocket money and visits the market with high expectations. When disaster strikes and he loses his money, he feels very devastated. But wait, what’s that? A Smile Shop? He could really do with a smile. What will happen if he goes in?

Featuring charming, classic illustrations reminiscent of Maurice Sendak and Tomie dePaola, Satoshi Kitamura’s The Smile Shop is an absorbing setting for readers to explore themes of independence, self-worth, and the effect of a smile shared between people.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This little story has a great premise. A boy has saved his money. He sets out for the market, looking for something to buy. There are so many options! But then something happens and his money (literally) goes down the drain. Defeated, he walks on, only to see a shop with a sign that says: "Smile". Thinking they must sell smiles, he goes inside... only to find that some of the best things in life can't be bought.

I love the story... but I hate the pictures. They're scribbly and rather ugly, and it almost pains me to think of how cute this book could have been with different illustrations.

This might work well as something to read aloud in a group setting, though. The less closely you look at the pictures, the better it seems.

Premise: 4/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 4/5
Illustrations: 2/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 3/5

Overall: 3.33 out of 5

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