The author’s choice to illustrate the book with photographs instead of fine artwork adds a unique dimension to this book, which tells the story of Allie, a young, elementary school-aged girl who wants to make a gift for her family members that are visiting tomorrow. On the way to making something special, she helps her mother and grandmother cook dinner, tutors her siblings and makes a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for her brother. Her mom and grandma forget that Allie wants to contribute to the family gathering but when Allie has a dramatic response to her disappointment, she and her mother choose a gift for Allie to make. The reader gets to see Allie make her gift – peanut butter treats, and read of the sense of accomplishment Allie feels when finishing. As members of both sides of her family arrive, everyone bearing gifts, the story is filled with smiles, hugs, people cooking in the kitchen, barbecuing on the grill, and everybody playing children’s games. Right after people stop eating, worried that no one will taste the treats she made because they are full, but encouraged by her grandmother, Allie serves her treats to her family, all of whom, it turns out, actually did have just a little more room for a dessert made by young hands.
The dominant theme of personal accomplishment is accentuated by the author’s choice to use natural life (as opposed to staged) color photography. The reader feels like they are inside two days of Allie’s life which is very relatable. And to top off the “accomplish something yourself” theme, there is a recipe in the back of the book along with ideas for homemade gifts, easy for a child to create. Parents will enjoy reading this story with their children and making the treats and gifts listed at the end of the book.
Recommendation: Recommended; Ages 4+
Book Review by Omilaju Miranda