Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Fortune Cookies review

Fortune Cookies
by A. Bitterman, illustrated by Chris Raschka
Beach Lane Books

January 2011

Maybe my cynical old eyes are too jaded, but this lovely ode to Chinese fortune cookies presented several concerns to me. The cover design, trim size, and number of pages seem to call to a younger reader - say ages 3 to 5. But the fragile pull-outs are certain to be trashed by younger children, and while a sensitive 6-8 year old strikes me as the right age to carefully enjoy the hidden messages on each page, I'm not confident that they'll make it past the initial "babyish" look of the book. Raschka's watercolor illustrations are charming, as ever.

Each day of the week, there's a new fortune cookie to open, with a vague but sure-sounding sentence typical of most fortunes. "Today you will lose something you don't need." The protaganist, a bobble-headed little girl in a bright red square of a dress loses a tooth. Each day, the little girl has a few quiet at-home adventures, all somewhat related to the day's fortune, and at the end of the week she's delighted when her missing cat turns up and a box of kittens is found. Maybe this is wrong, but all I could think of is that old game, "in bed" (some people play by saying, "between the sheets") You read the fortune, and append it with "in bed" giving each fortune a saucy and sometimes hilarious turn. I can't say that I will be purchasing this for my library - the story makes much less sense minus the long thin fortune cookie strips, and they look too delicate for heavy use. Still, this might make a nice gift for the right sort of kid.

I borrowed a copy of this book.

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