The Cool Bean

HarperCollins/Haper. Dec. 2019. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780062954527.
PreS-Gr 2–A bow tie–wearing chickpea attends school with a trio of really awesome beans. So awesome, that they are what most people would call “cool.” All the beans used to be friends, but now they are seemingly too cool for the nerdy chickpea. Yet, the cool beans show that being kind and caring for others is the true way to demonstrate just how hip a person can be. The creative team behind The Bad Seed and The Good Egg deliver a comedic tale of trying to fit in among one’s peers. The cool beans represent the archetypal popular kids in any school setting; they are able to play sports, rock out on a guitar, and even display the greatest art skills, making this story relatable to plenty of readers despite the picture book format. Additionally, the text is full of puns found in the tiny details on each page, which are sure to make older readers giggle, including “Leguma Beach” and “The Great Gatsbean.” Younger readers will not miss out on the humor, as the illustrations are goofy and adorable. The chickpea’s attempts to be cool fall flat, but after a couple mishaps, the other beans come to his aid.
VERDICT This is a gentle, sweet story of how generosity and kindness are the true qualities to champion, and offers a great example for young readers and an important reminder for older readers. A strong addition to any collection.

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