Primary Genre(s): Children’s Picture Book
Published: 1 May 1990 by Annick Press
My Format: ebook via Hoopla
Would I recommend it: Likely, but with a caveat
Commission Link: Buy Something Good
My rating: ★★★☆☆
Synopsis from Goodreads
“Something good” is exactly what Tyya, Andrew and Julie want to put into their shopping cart. Tyya’s dad won’t buy anything good at the store—no ice cream, no candy, no cookies. But when Daddy gets fed up and tells Tyya to “Stand here and Don’t Move!” Tyya knows she’s in big trouble.
Yesterday I posted a review for The Paper Bag Princess by this author. I enjoyed that book quite a bit so I went back to Hoopla and selected another one of the author’s children’s books to read. Spoilers ahead… it is hard to review a picture book without revealing some plot details. Here are my pros and cons for Something Good:
- I loved that it was Dad at the grocery store with the kids, instead of the Mom.
- The illustrations (by Michael Martchenko) are fun and kids will love them!
- Every kid will relate to this story – at least the part about getting frustrated because the parent won’t buy them junk food (aka “something good”). Kids will sympathize with Tyya and her siblings.
- I think the exaggerations in the book are amusing and will definitely make kids laugh. For example, when Tyya finds some ice cream she wants, she doesn’t just pick one carton. Instead, she fills a shopping cart with 100 cartons!
- When Tyya’s father asks her to finally just stand still and wait for him to finish shopping, she listens like a very good little girl. Perhaps a little too good, because she stands so still a store clerk thinks she is a doll and puts a $29.95 price tag on her nose. As a “doll”, Tyya unwittingly causes some massive destruction in the grocery store (one person knocks over 500 oranges, another 500 apples). Again, the exaggeration and destruction is funny and will appeal to kids.
- This is where the story goes off the rails for me. As they were finally purchasing their groceries, the cashier notices the price tag on Tyya’s nose and will not let Dad leave the store with her until he pays. Dad argues he shouldn’t have to pay for his own kid, but the cashier won’t back down. Finally Tyya asks “Daddy, don’t you think I’m worth twenty-nine ninety-five?” Of course, Dad backs down and pays for his daughter. As an adult I think this is absolutely crazy, a little bit weird, and completely unrealistic. The story ends with Dad “purchasing” Tyya, and Tyya says “Daddy, you finally bought something good after all.” I don’t know exactly how to explain it, and I fully realize this is just a kid’s book, but I think there could have been a better message here than to teach a kid she is “worth it” by doing something completely unreasonable and unnecessary. And I don’t think love or a person’s value should ever be equated to a dollar amount… especially in a kid’s book.
Kids definitely want to know they are wanted and loved and there are elements of that in this story. But the story goes from wanting junk food at the grocery store to “paying” for a child so she feels special. It was an odd leap for me. I think it would have been a better story if it had stayed with the junk food theme and taught Tyya that treats are okay in moderation. Or, when Tyya asked her dad if he thought she was worth $29.95, there could have been a great lesson that she is worth much, much more and it had nothing to do with money.
I’m giving this three stars because I think there are definitely some super cute elements to the story. However, if kids read this book, I personally think adults should be prepared to talk to them about the fact that their value doesn’t, and never will, equate to a dollar amount.
If you would like to read this book and form your own opinion, please consider purchasing through this link: Buy Something Good. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thanks!
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(image from Goodreads)