I Can Be Kind by Rainbow Gal

I Can Be Kind by Rainbow Gal
Publisher: Fat Cat Publishing
Genre: Children’s (0 – 6 y.o.), Contemporary
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

When a headstrong goldfish stands up to a Piranha and shows him what it is like to be kind, caring and generous, it enriches and transforms his life forever.

This hilarious picture book about a Piranha who is always in a terrible mood is perfect for young children learning how to deal with confusing anger, making friends and standing up to bullies.

Throughout this remarkable short story, Oscar the Piranha will learn what kindness means and understand what it is like to be sensitive, caring, and generous.

Oscar, the Piranha, has a bad temper, bad manners, and a bad attitude. But when one bold little goldfish named Marla decides to confront Oscar and even goes to the extent of befriending him, the outrageously bitter Piranha starts to feel happy for the first time in his life.

This Rainbow Gal’s charming short story, which includes dazzling illustrations, and delightfully practical LARGE PRINT, is a funny yet touching tale that reminds us of the classic “Beauty and the Beast” with the remarkably transformative potential of willpower, acceptance and friendship.

I can be kind — proves that positive changes are possible for each one of us.

Love is a powerful force even for mean piranhas.

I enjoyed the sections of this picture book that talked about how much someone can change if they’re shown kindness and genuinely want to improve. This was such a hopeful message, and it was one that’s important for little readers to learn early on. It’s definitely a good thing to treat others with compassion and be forgiving of them if they make mistakes along the way.

With that being said, I was concerned about the concept of Marla the goldfish being put in danger in order to see if Oscar truly had changed. He had a long history of eating goldfish, after all! I believe we can have compassion for people or piranhas who have a history of harming others while also teaching kids to protect themselves. It would have been helpful to have stronger examples of him beginning to change for the better before Marla was tossed into his tank. Her safety and comfort was important, too.

The ending made me smile. Obviously, I can’t go into detail about it here, but I liked the fact that the narrator tied up all of the conflicts so nicely. That gave me a strong sense of closure for these characters. It was rewarding to see where they ended up when it was all said and done. There was space for a sequel if the author ever decides to read one, but I was also satisfied with everything the audience learned about these characters.

I Can Be Kind was a thought-provoking read.

The Ladybug and the Ant by Carole St-Laurent

The Ladybug and the Ant by Carole St-Laurent
Publisher: Fat Cat Publishing
Genre: Childrens, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (30 pages)
Age Recommendation: 3+
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

A kindred fairy-tale.

This is a story of two impossible dreams and an unsuspected friendship.

Grow wings on the back of your young ones with The Ladybug And The Ant.
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As one dreams of flying freely like a butterfly, the other, who is orphaned and lonely, wishes she could be a part of a family. Seeing that the friendship grows between the two young strangers, they’ll discover that with the help of one another, their virtually impossible dreams will come true.

It is a lesson in sharing, acceptance of one another, and complicity.

There’s more than one way to accomplish your wildest dreams.

The friendship between Coco and Peechooka was marvelous. They shared many common interests and seemed to deeply enjoy spending time together. I enjoyed reading about the various things they did to pass the time. They were good friends to each other from the very first day they met even though they both had something that the other one wanted very badly. I thought it was nice they could be friends even though they were both a little envious of what their buddy had.

It would have been helpful to have more details included in this tale. The narrator talked about what the two main characters did after they met each other in general terms, but I found it hard to imagine their adventures because none of the descriptions were specific. For example, the narrator mentioned the characters telling stories but didn’t say what they were about or how anyone reacted to them. If more attention had been paid to things like this, I would have selected a much higher rating.

The ending was well done. While this was written with a preschool audience in mind, I thought that the final scene would be just as meaningful for much older people because of what it had to say about how we should treat each other and what we should to do to chase dreams that sure seem like they’d be impossible to reach. While I can’t say much else about the end without giving away spoilers, I was pleased with how the author wrapped everything up and will be keeping an eye out for more of her works in the future.

The Ladybug and the Ant was a charming picture book I’d recommend to readers of all ages.