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Thursday, June 4, 2020

The Cool Bean, written by Jory John and illustrated by Pete Oswald. Harper, 2019. $23.99 ages 4 and up

"I watched as the beans I
knew so well - the beans
from my own pod - became
the cool beans.

Oh, they were soooooo 

One of them could play the
guitar. COOL."

This is the third in a collaborative series by creators Jory and Oswald. Kids love them, and so do their teachers and parents. The three beans pictured on the opening spread know they are COOL! That is evident for all to see. The beans watching from the sidelines are enamored of their swagger, their look, and their obvious self-confidence.

All beans at school came from the same pod. Events changed when these three adopted their cool personas.  Everyone knows the cool ones, and few pay attention to the others anymore.

"That's just how it is sometimes. You spend
less time together, even though you're not
totally sure why."

Our narrator has tried to make small changes to adopt their chill nature, but doesn't have much luck. Nothing much has changed despite all efforts.

"I started thinking of myself as just
a common bean with no special skills.
I couldn't compete, so I didn't even try."

Nothing changed. Time passed and their previous friendship was sorely missed. Then one day all things changed. Trouble in the cafeteria, and out on the playground, led to the cool beans stepping in to make a difference. They responded with quiet empathy and kindness whenever the "uncool" bean ran into a problem. Small acts meant everything, and resulted in a much happier circumstance. a leap in confidence was the outcome, and a need to pay it forward. Huzzah!

 Winning characters, full of personality, are evident on every spread ... cool or not! The message is quiet and heartfelt, giving little ones a sense of peace, along with a lot of bean-related wordplay. Don't miss the funny details in the arrwork.

If you haven't read The Bad Seed (2017) or The Good Egg (2019), check them out. Your kids won't be disappointed. Nor will you.

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