The Wishing Machine

S. & S. Oct. 2023. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781665922302.
PreS-Gr 1–Every Sunday, Sam and his mother visit their local laundromat. But this Sunday is different. It is their last Sunday in town before they move in with Sam’s grandfather. Sam is mourning the happy memories he has made over the years at the laundromat. His mother compares the washing machine to a wishing well. “What do you wish for, Sam-my-Sam?” Sam knows what his wish will be—to stay in their apartment. He waits for the laundry to be finished and his wish to come true, but only clean clothes wait for him when he opens the door. Next, he tries the vending machine. A malfunction causes coins and bags of cookies to spill out onto the floor. “Enough for rent!” Sam proclaims, but they return the money to the cashier. They share their cookies with their friends and say goodbye. The story ends on a bittersweet note, with Sam and his mother making a new wish to be together every Sunday. This book is perfect for children who are struggling with moving or other transitions. Hillman depicts Sam’s acceptance of moving without downplaying the sadness that comes with leaving one’s community behind. The family’s financial situation is depicted without judgment. Alam’s illustrations present the town as a snowy winter wonderland, adding to the warm and cozy atmosphere of the laundromat.
VERDICT A generous, thoughtful celebration of community and embracing life’s transitions.

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