Thursday, February 25, 2016

Smile Cry

Smile Cry
written by Tania McCartney; illustrated by Jess Racklyeft
2016 (EK Books)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

Or maybe, just maybe, it's ... a wrapped in a cuddle smile. Or maybe, just maybe, it's ... a wrapped in a cuddle cry. 

How many different ways can you smile? If you thought just one, you're off by at least 12. In the adorable flip-over picture book Smile Cry, a variety of thirteen smiles are presented by the champs of charming, a trio consisting of a kitten, a bunny, and a piglet. My favorite smile is the ate all the pies smile. The threesome is shown passed out on a red and white checkerboard blanket. Other smiles include a walking in the forest smile, with the piglet enjoying the company of shade, flowers, and fowl. The kitten and the bunny display a spinning round-and-round smile while riding on a merry-go-round. Ending the frivolity is a group hug. Alas, as Badly Drawn Boy sings, the joy is not the same without the pain. On the flip side of this book come the tears. It could be the ice-cream plopping down cry with a sad bunny watching a scoop lie on the ground. Jealousy rears its head with the tutu in the wash cry. A crestfallen piglet stares at the clothesline while two friends jete away. Perhaps most devastating is the goodbye cry with the bunny waving from the backseat of a moving packed car while sidekicks give a final salute.

We should spend more time talking about emotions in school and less about standards and data. Helping kids deal with their feelings is an around the clock job and incredibly important. Smile Cry is a nice resource for those who work with young children on how to manage the flood (sometimes literally) of emotions that are present in their lives. This book also leads to a fabulous writing assignment. Pretend that your class has been asked by the publisher to create a sequel to Smile Cry. What other laughter or tears are out there waiting to be listed? The I never get picked to pass out papers cry or the laugh so hard milk comes out my nose smile are two possibilities. I imagine kindergartners and first graders will be very engaged. With sweet illustrations and insightful observations, Smile Cry will spark a slew of connections with young readers.

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