Cecilia’s Fundraiser

Picture Window. (Mr. Grizley’s Class). Aug. 2021. 32p. Tr $21.32. ISBN 9781663910226; pap. $5.95. ISBN 9781663920966.
K-Gr 2–Welcome to Mr. Grizley’s elementary school classroom, a place where kindness reigns supreme and the name of the game is teamwork. The students here are children from all walks of life and experiences, and their adventures in the world of social-emotional growth compose each entry in this new beginning chapter book series from newcomers Avery and Putra. In the series debut, Cecilia indicates with her emotions card that she is feeling “sad” during Mr. Grizley’s morning check-in. The problem? She has left her delicious tamales at home when she retrieved her poetry journal, so now she has no means of contributing to the animal shelter fundraiser that afternoon. But all it takes is an inspirational brainstorming session with her friends and a healthy dose of cooperation for Cecilia to realize that the answer to her problem was with her all along. True to format, Avery’s text is spare and direct, which is a boon to constructing the story’s moral atmosphere of honesty and simple goodness. These heartwarming themes are reflected in Putra’s bucolic illustrations. The characters are teddy-bear cute and the color scheme is jubilant. Several features follow the story proper, including a glossary, writing and discussion points, and even instructions on how readers can create their own emotions cards! It’s a delightful way to practically apply the book’s lessons on being the best human one can be.
VERDICT Those on the hunt for small books with big heart will be served well by attending this lesson from Mr. Grizley and friends.

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