FICTION

Joy School: 22 Children’s Stories to Teach the Joys of Honesty, Family, Your Body, the Earth, Goals, Sharing, Uniqueness, and More!

Bushel & Peck. Sept. 2020. 96p. Tr $21.99. ISBN 9781952239755.
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K-Gr 2–A collection of stories designed to teach and build appreciation in sections such as “The Joy of the Body,” “The Joy of Family,” and more. There are ten topics in all, containing brief two- to three-page stories or rhyming poems paired with whimsical illustrations in a Scandinavian style and featuring a diverse cast of characters. Some stories have a symbol to denote if it is “Sad-or-Happy,” with one path following a poor choice, and the other about a wise choice. Each piece includes perfunctory questions for discussion in a shaded pastel blue. Some lines do not scan well, or seem forced or clumsy: “And he floated right off to start giving once more/’Cause he learned a good lesson from all the before.”
VERDICT Stilted sentences prevent the tellings from gaining momentum; the mission of teaching core values overwhelms any compelling content.

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