The Smart Cookie

HarperCollins/Harper. Nov. 2021. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780063045408.
Gr 1-2–Wordplay spices up this latest entry in the creators’ “food group” picture book series, as a once shy sugar cookie describes how they got over feeling lost at sea in class with some help from a savvy schoolteacher. It all starts with a chewy homework assignment from Ms. Biscotti to “create something completely original.” A few half-baked efforts later—like a sculptured selfie that winds up “a complete bust!”—sweet success arrives in the form of a confessional poem titled “My Crumby Days” that earns the sugar cookie praise from all listeners. As frosting on the cake, cookie also gets the self-confidence to keep writing, to try new things, and to accept the occasional failure. Oswald surrounds the big-eyed biscuit with a diverse and similarly nongendered cast of smiling baked goods, all busily involved in play, projects, and like means of finding their own recipes for success. “There’s always more to learn!” the triumphant treat concludes. “Because we’re all smart cookies.”
VERDICT One for the shelves on cooking or self-esteem, this dishes up a nutritious message, liberally sprinkled with puns, metaphors, and double entendres.

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