Posted in Early Reader, Fiction, Preschool Reads

Willow’s Smile is great for Picture Day jitters!

willows smileWillow’s Smile, by Lana Button/Illustrated by Tania Howells, (April 2016, Kids Can Press), $16.95, ISBN: 9781771385497

Recommended for ages 4-8

Willow can smile without even trying, but sometimes, when she’s supposed to smile, the smile just slips right off her face. She’s so worried that she’ll lose her smile during Picture Day at school, but the photographer knows exactly what to do – he enlists her help in getting the other kids to smile! When it’s Willow’s turn in front of the camera, all of her friends pitch and to make sure her smile stays just right.

This is an adorable little book that’s a great choice to read before a class picture day, or a big picture taking event, like a birthday party or holiday. Kids will identify with Willow, who has trouble smiling on demand – who doesn’t? The simple art will draw kids’ attention, too – it’s a child’s story, and could have been hand drawn by Willow herself. The plain black font lends itself to an easy read-aloud where the images will hold an audience’s attention.

When the photographer asks Willow to help him cheer her classmates up to get them to smile, we see community at work – maybe that could be a job for a helper or two on Picture Day, to connect to the story and assuage nerves about smiling for the camera.

A sweet addition to collections, especially for school and classroom libraries.


I'm a mom, a children's librarian, bibliophile, and obsessive knitter. I'm a pop culture junkie and a proud nerd, and favorite reads usually fall into Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I review comics and graphic novels at WhatchaReading ( I'm also the co-founder of On Wednesdays We Wear Capes (, where I discuss pop culture and geek fandom from a female point of view.

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