The Smile ShopFeatured
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.
What I loved: The story has a simple premise about happiness and the power of a smile. Though the boy encounters some difficulty with the loss of his spending money, he manages to turn it around by finding something simple to enjoy. The use of color was interesting in the illustrations here, with colors disappearing when he is sad and returning when he feels happier. There are also a lot of details in the images that will appeal to children who like to examine illustrations.
What left me wanting more: The artistic style will appeal to some, but has a grainy appearance that makes it look like it is a little out of focus and facial expressions are not always clearly conveyed.
Final verdict: A story about the power of a smile, THE SMILE SHOP demonstrates that buying things is not necessary for happiness. Would recommend for early elementary school readers who can appreciate this simple message.