Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A grinning green frog stars in Carlson's (the Harriet and George series) encouraging lesson about the power of positive thinking: "Life has all sorts of ups and downs./ That's why you should always smile a lot!" In Carlson's signature style, a framed panel introduces the pajama-clad amphibian against a busy orange and yellow backdrop; opposite, the titular advice ("Smile a Lot!") and a persuasive argument ("It's much easier than complaining") introduces an example in action. For instance, in the first of a trio of framed panels, he sticks out his tongue when his mother serves him "oatmeal with prunes." His grimace turns into a Cheshire cat-like grin ("Smile a Lot!") as he imagines other culinary options ("Ask if you can help her make chocolate chip pancakes tomorrow./ Then figure out what to do with your oatmeal"). The last panel shows the frog spoon-feeding a younger sibling. The format repeats throughout as the frog faces bullies on the playground, a low score on a spelling test and a grueling soccer practice. In each situation Carlson goes beyond "grin and bear it" to give readers a glimpse of karmic justice: in exchange for his upbeat attitude, the frog is justly rewarded. Ages 3-8. (Aug.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-A green frog has a mouth full of bright white teeth, which readers see often because he grins so much. He advises children to smile to help them get through life's ups and downs, including making friends, tricking tough guys, getting past a bad spelling test, visiting the dentist, and more. This is somewhat of a touchy message. Smiling and being positive in sticky situations can't hurt, but, realistically, kids need to know that such a strategy may not keep the tough guys away. Although Carlson suggests other behaviors to go along with the upbeat feelings, she does so subtly and some children may not pick up on those actions. That said, this title is best suited to adults and children together so that a discussion can ensue. Most of the bright, full-color illustrations are framed and rest above the text. The exceptions to this pattern are on pages that highlight the boldly printed words, "Smile a Lot!" They show the frog below the phrase, in a more open, outgoing pose, without any frame. Add this to the list of bibliotherapy titles, but recommend it with caution.-Kathleen Simonetta, Indian Trails Public Library District, Wheeling, IL Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In another of her unself-consciously oddball joys, Carlson (How About a Hug?, 2001, etc.) suggests that when life sends a downbeat in your direction you should put on a smile. Simply lifting the corners of your mouth is "easier than complaining," notes the frog narrator of this upbeat undertaking. In a text that is a model of easy communication, the frog notes that a smile can win friends, confound bullies, and soften the hard times. A little ingenuity never hurt, either, as when you get oatmeal with prunes for breakfast: Smile, ask Mom if you can help her make chocolate chip pancakes tomorrow, and then feed the oatmeal and prunes to your baby sister when Mom is busy elsewhere. In artwork that is all elbows and charm and a bellyful of color, Carlson makes an undeniable case for grins over grumps. And if the frog's smile looks a little strained at times, understand that taking the high road requires some effort, but it sure is worth it. Carlson knows how to make dry humor work for three-year-olds. Try that neat trick some time. It makes smiling down the bullies seem like child's play. (Picture book. 3-8)

Product Details

Lerner Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
7.60(w) x 9.80(h) x 0.30(d)
470L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

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Smile a Lot! 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'v bought the Nancy Carlson pack for my kids 5 & 8 yrs.old. which includes 'Smile a Lot' book. I have to say that i was so disappointed form all 3 books, it basically says it's Okay to do anything, even wrong, and still keep smiling, even when you do something that disappoints your parents! that pack was listed under 'Self-esteem', but i didn't find it that way!