Friday Review: The Kindness Can by Tracy Watland

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Grace is having problems in school. Chance, a classmate has been mean to her and she is starting to believe the things he says. When her grandma hears Grace calling herself stupid, she decides it is time for Grace to learn a lesson about being kind to others. She gives Grace the Kindness Can, along with the four rules of kindness. Grace takes the can to school and begins following the four rules, even being nice to mean Chance. She soon finds out that when you begin to change yourself, magic happens!

Yes, this is a children’s book, but I think it is good to see what’s new in books for our young friends now and again. And this is a cute one. The story is simple and straightforward, the message is clear without being preachy, and the illustrations are colorful and lively. Still, there were a couple things that kept it from being a five star book. One was the blurb, which spells out the lesson being taught rather than giving an idea of what the story is about. (The above description is mine, not what is on the book.) For me, it’s more important when I am shopping for a book for a child that the story be something that will appeal. If the lesson has to be spelled out in the blurb, then perhaps the story isn’t doing its job. Luckily, this is not the case here. The story is one that most kids can relate to, and the characters should be familiar to most elementary school age children. The other thing is the concept of being a RAKer. Unless you are familiar with the concept of Random Acts of Kindness, you probably will not recognize the term. And even if you have seen the concept in its spelled out form, most people (myself included) haven’t run across the acronym. There is also the problem of how to pronounce the acronym. Rack? Rake? Rock? If I was unsure, I suspect most kids would be, as well.

But those are small issues. In the end, it doesn’t really matter how you pronounce RAK, as long as you understand what it means. And the book illustrates the concept well. The blurb might make some pass on the book since it doesn’t tell much about the story, but it’s easy enough to flip through the short book and see. It was a sweet story with a message that even adults can benefit from. If you have child you want to buy a book for, this is one older children can read for themselves, and one that adults won’t mind reading to the younger ones.

View all my reviews

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Available now:

Novels:

Circle Unbroken (sci-fi with magic elements)

Novelettes:

Survival of the Fittest (dystopian sci-fi)

Five and Daemon (urban fantasy)

Short Stories:

Feed My People (dystopian sci-fi)

Collections:

Six of One: A Collection of Short Fantasy (fantasy)

Find out more here.

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