Review Blog

Jan 22 2013

Because Amelia smiled by David Ezra Stein

cover image

Candlewick Press, 2012. ISBN 978 0 7636 4169 6.
(Age: 5+) Warmly recommended. Picture book. Interconnectedness. When Amelia smiled, Mrs Higgins smiles as well, thinking of her son far away. She cooks him some biscuits and sends them on. In Mexico Lionel and his class eat the biscuits, then Sensacia decides that she too will be teacher like Lionel and so shows her kickboxing technique to her cousin who videos it, placing it on the internet. Far away in England a group of dancers see her technique and emulate it for their dance, which leads them to Israel where they are in a recital. Each positive thing is carried from one person to another until the smile eventually reaches back to where it came form, enriching people's lives along the way, making people connect with each other.
A simple premise, the tale of just one smile will help bring smiles to those who read the story, adding their own versions of interconnectedness and togetherness.
The spectacular use of multi media, crayon, water colour and pencil, brings each city to life, drawing on varied styles to capture the essences of those places. I love the pages set in Paris, with its journey along the Seine, and the high wire act at Positanao. Each brought smiles of recognition to my face and will delight the range of readers this admirable book attracts. If a little obvious in its plea for togetherness, it matters not a jot, as children everywhere will agree wholeheartedly.
Fran Knight

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