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Runaway Smile: An unshared smile is a wasted smile (Mystery Smiles Series) Paperback – December 2, 2014
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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"Most avid readers still have books from their childhood which they read over and over again. 'Runaway Smile' has joined the list."
- Juliet Aharoni
"From the very first sentence I realized I was not reading a book, I was going on an adventure."
- Anne Peterson
"Runaway Smile is a whimsical tale of a boy who loses his smile. Perhaps he lent it to me - I certainly smiled as I read my way through the story... Like all the best fairy tales, it has a timeless appeal and a gentle message."
- Helen Jones
From the Author
When people ask me about "Runaway Smile," I often describe it as my "Little Prince." This is not only because of the boy protagonist's charming innocence but also because both books are very dear to me.
One amazing thing about "Runaway Smile" is that I wrote it in a single morning. I could hear the words in my head as if someone was dictating them to me. I have published dozens of books since but never again have I had such an experience.
What really brought the text to life, however, is my illustrator's brilliant sketches. They add to the imagery and complement it in a unique way that makes me fall in love with this little book all over again every time I open its pages.
I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
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This story is layered with thought-provoking semiotics that will attract parents as well. Fantastic illustrations make our boy's trek to school come to life, and the summary in verse at the end is a touch of genius and extra proof of the author's diverse talent. This is one book you won't regret reading to little ones, but even if there aren't any around, just go for it. You'll love it.
The boy meets several adult characters on his way to school. A workman, a man walking his goldfish, a king being photographed, the greatest salesman in the world, and a clown, each display smiles that they are unwilling to share with the boy. At school, the boy asks his teacher , but she replies that a classroom is no place for a smile and proceeds to pass out a test! By this time the poor boy is completely disheartened. When he gets home, he asks his mother how to find his smile. She reveals the secret.
The sepia toned illustrations in this book are done beautifully; they capture the spirit and humor of the tale. A poem, “Ode to a runaway smile,” included at the end portrays the cleverness and wit of the author. Adults will understand all the nuances of this story. The simple illustration on the cover is a bit misleading as to the underlying story. Young children will enjoy the pictures but probably won’t grasp some of the concepts without adult guidance. I feel the book is best suited for independent readers who enjoy different kinds of books with an unusual plot so I would especially recommend it for ages ten and older.
We’ve all awakened without our smiles at some point in our lives, so we can all sympathize with this little boy. While it is a children’s story, it is just as enchanting of a story for adults. I highly recommend this book for your youngsters, who are often grumpy in the mornings, or even for the crabby adults in your life!
I give this book five stars, because I loved the way it is illustrated and how Rossis handled this topic and made it timeless. From the dog, who reads and wears a robe and slippers to the salesman, who only wants to sell and never listens, Rossis has written a book that appeals to all ages.
The story appears to be quite a simple tale of the boy's adventure, but there is embellishment with delightful touches of a vivid imagination everywhere you look. For example: rather than just a bear passing by, it is a bear riding a unicycle. I did also like the understatement where the simple description of a fob watch spoke volumes about the mother.
The illustrations by talented Dimitris Fousekis foster an air of whimsy and are a welcome enhancement to the story.
The tale is easy to read and would be suitable for parents to read to their children, or emerging readers to discover on their own as a first chapter book.
My only regret would be that it ended so soon, and I will definitely by exploring more of Nicholas Rossis' repertoire.
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By Nicholas C. Rossi
Illustrations by Domitris Fousekis
What would one do if awaking without a smile?Read more