It’s easy to feel cheerful when you’re reading this book, which follows the progress of a smile – ‘a beautiful gift from one face to another’ – as it is passed from person to person in ways that engage and surprise young readers, and bring much satisfaction.
Visibly diverse characters give and receive the smile, whose journey is marked by a ribbon of stardust dancing its way across the pages. Close inspection reveals how ingeniously the starry smile-trail has been constructed, taking it far from the family that started it before returning it to them via a lost dog in the park, and there’s plenty for observant eyes to spot.
Marie Voigt is a rising talent whose first picturebook, Red and the City, was nominated for the Kate Greenaway Medal and shortlisted for the Klaus Flugge Prize. In The Smile, a strong concept has been well executed, and Marie’s use of bold, glowing colours and crisp white backgrounds adds to the upbeat feel.
Families will enjoy sharing this satisfying and optimistic story, which also makes a good starting point for organized group discussions about caring for others and how we should behave.