Little, Brown. Mar. 2021. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316424653.
PreS-Gr 1–A rounded white-faced creature with wide eyes and a turquoise bodysuit poses open-ended questions such as “What is this magical thing to be alive?” Other questions such as “Where was I before I was born?” and “How did we get so lucky to call this universe home?” build upon the sense of wonderment—the “spark” referred to in the title—of being alive. The text meanders into questions of purpose and sentiments of gratitude. A few spreads are placed to make cheerful points such as “Let the spark shine!” The vivid colors with heavy outline depict the charming creature’s exploration of the world, joined by a red-suited friend, but disjointed pacing and lack of substance do not bring the tale to life.
VERDICT Platitudes and overly sentimental text paired with crayon-bright colors attempt to convey the spark but fall flat. Give this one a miss.

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