The Smart Cookie

The Smart Cookie
Jory John and Pete Oswald
Harper 360

The narrator of this picture book is one of the residents of the bakery on the corner of Sweet Street; she now calls herself Smart and is sufficiently self-assured to share with readers her transformative journey from a cookie completely lacking in confidence to the present day.

As a pupil of Ms Biscotti, teacher at the school in a gingerbread house, said cookie didn’t think fast enough to put up her hand to answer any questions and finished last in most tests. Sometimes a lesson was so much of a challenge, our narrator felt completely at sea, totally beset by worries and would lie awake all night in the cookie jar.

Then one day Ms Biscotti announced a homework assignment asking everyone to ‘create something completely original’ and bring it to class next day.

Back home our cookie starts work right away but her initial attempts result in disasters of one kind or another, and then suddenly an idea comes – a poem! Having named the creation “My Crumby Days”, the words just keep coming to our poet in the making, so much so that it’s excitement, not worry that keeps her awake this time.

Next morning at school cookie shares the poem. Fellow pupils relate to the words, Ms Biscotti is delighted by its originality

and as for our narrator, she realises that everyone is smart in their own ways, it just takes time to discover what those ways are; our differences are something to be embraced and celebrated.

With puns aplenty and its important message, Jory John’s text together with Pete Oswald’s playful scenes of cookie’s school and home, offer a tasty confidence booster for youngsters and a great starting point for discussion in the primary classroom.

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