Greenlight: A Children’s Picture Book About an Essential Neighborhood Traffic Light

HarperCollins. Jul. 2023. 32p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780063054066.
PreS-Gr 3–The book's cover is colorful and appealing, and the green light herself has tons of personality. She’s recently taken to feeling bad about her work and, thus, herself. The red light makes everyone stop; yellow urges caution. Both of those are important jobs. Green light tells the cars to “go” and then is left behind, leaving her down in the dumps. The story, however, has no real believable resolution. Nothing can be done about this situation and there is no pivotal transformation to satisfy readers that the green light has changed. Perhaps the use of anthropomorphism precludes noting the importance of the lights in the real world and the dire consequences of ignoring them.
VERDICT It seems there is a mismatch in this book. Using traffic lights to address the topic of feelings through inanimate objects does not immediately jump to mind. Books like Jacqueline Woodson’s Each Kindness are far better suited to the task.

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