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Try a Little Kindness: A Guide to Being Better

Henry Cole

In this funny picture book, bestselling illustrator Henry Cole shows kids different ways to be kind with his hysterical cartoon animal characters. Each page features a different way to be a good person, like using proper manners, telling someone they are special, or sharing a treat! The text is accompanied by two or three related vignettes of different animals giving examples of ways to be good. And in one illustration out of each set, one animal (like a cat peering into a fishbowl!) may not be doing the best job of being kind! The animal characters and simple text will help readers learn the importance of kindness in a fun way with lots of kid appeal. Our animal friends will show you Exactly how it is done Make sure to look closely Kindness can be very FUN!


“A smile to greet the morning / A hug to greet each day / A ‘thank you’ and a ‘yes, please’ / Are things that you should say.” Vignettes depicting various scenarios and glossed with bold red statements of ways to be kind make up the majority of the work, but similar snatches of narratorial verse are also mixed in to hold the moments together. Standard advice applies: “Write thank-you notes!” or “Share your toy.” Other suggestions, such as “Hold the door for a friend,” or “Tell someone they are special,” seem perfectly polite on the surface, but Cole’s watercolor art conceals some devious possibilities within that both provoke thought and help to keep the book from feeling too syrupy. A cat holding the bird-cage door open, for instance, might not be as kind as one might think. But the art is full of unlikely groupings (a wolf helps three pigs build a brick house), and readers can only hope differences have been set aside for the sake of neighborliness (and enjoyment in spotting them). In a world where kindness and empathy are lacking, this string of actionable advice is enough to get the wheels turning. The story will hopefully create similar compassion in readers—or it might just make them giggle. (Picture book. 3-6) —Kirkus

This sweet read will help the younger set learn manners and practice being helpful. Cute animals teach littles to read to a friend, to send thank you notes, to visit someone who is lonely, and to give up your seat to someone else. Heartfelt and much needed, Try a Little Kindness is sure to bring a smile to the reader as well as the child it's read to. Highly recommended for young readers. —BLOG by Pamela Thompson

Kindness can be a struggle. Everyone at some point has been exposed to unkind people. Children are no exception. Sometimes they can see that behavior and copy it. Other times, they may have trouble with kindness for other reasons; they may be frustrated, angry or jealous. Sometimes children just don’t know that they are doing anything wrong. They might not even what the word kindness means. In a world where we strive to overcome bullies, it is helpful to have a reminder of what kindness looks like. Try a Little Kindness by Henry Cole seeks to provide a guide for young children. What does kindness look like? The text is simple. The theme of kindness being fun surfaces several times throughout the book. It reminds readers to use manners such as please and thank you. It encourages generosity through sharing and letting other go before you, and promotes inclusivity with its advice to invite someone over to play and being an ally. But amidst all the general kindness the book advises, there are lessons for adult too. Things like writing thank you notes, picking up trash, and holding the door are everyday kindnesses that are too often forgotten in our hurry-up and go lifestyle. Reminders to do something unexpected, help without being asked, and visiting someone who is lonely are things that everyone can benefit from these days. Illustrations Illustrated with animals engaged in kind acts, the pictures help make the concept of kindness more relatable for children. A shark reading a book to a school of fish, foxes playing Red Rover with a chicken, a mouse looking to play ball with a new neighbor are some of the playful images that fill the pages with examples of each action. In a world where many feel rushed and forget the little niceties, to dealing with bullies and just the childhood business of growing up, Try a Little Kindness is a helpful reminder of what modeling positive behaviors for children looks like. —COMMUNITIES DIGITAL NEWS