Friday 18 March 2022

The Smart Cookie

The Smart Cookie by Jory John, illustrated by Pete Oswald (HarperCollins Publishers) HB RRP $24.99 ISBN: 9780063239791

Reviewed by Dannielle Viera

Cookie does not feel like the smartest biscuit in the barrel. At school, spelling and maths and tests do not come naturally to her. Cookie stays awake most nights, worrying about messing up the next day. Then Ms Biscotti, her teacher, sets some very unusual homework: they have to ‘create something completely original’. Cookie tries baking something and making something, but nothing works. Suddenly, she has an idea: she will write a poem. When Cookie reads out her poem, ‘My Crumby Days’, everybody claps. She learns that ‘you can be smart in many different ways’.

Packed with puns, Jory John’s clever text is a cracker. Many kids aged four to eight will immediately empathise with the sweet protagonist’s struggles at school, and they’ll cheer along with the other small treats when Cookie doesn’t crumble during her poem reading. Most of all, young readers will puff with pride when they work out that there is more to intelligence than top grades and knowing all the answers.

Pete Oswald’s illustrations are good enough to eat! Delicious colours glaze the pages, and youngsters will enjoy feasting their eyes on the delectable details in each image. His cute characterisation of Cookie – complete with delicate sprinkles and expressive green peepers – ensures that the protagonist plucks the heartstrings of all readers.

Chock-full of wit and wisdom, The Smart Cookie is a recipe for success. When confidence and creativity are mixed together – along with a dash of self-discovery – children can dish up the very best version of themselves.

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