A young girl learns that there’s value in things that aren’t perfect and that even broken things can be repaired.
When Maria reads her older brother Robbie’s favorite book, she turns the pages just like he does, but the results are not at all the same: The pages rip and flutter around her. Angry, Robbie stomps off, and Maria bursts into tears. Ms. Bea, a kindly older caregiver, shows her a bowl that was perfect when Ms. Bea gifted it to Maria’s mother but then broke (the word kintsugi is not used). The pair then take a walk, looking for other things that are imperfectly perfect, such as the dandelion growing in a crack in the broken pavement, the wrinkles on Ms. Bea’s face, and the scar on Maria’s knee, which reminds her of how Robbie lovingly carried her home after she hurt herself while playing. Maria is inspired to fix Robbie’s book with some gold tape, and, after her heartfelt apology, the two snuggle in to read together. While the premise of making the best of imperfection is a good one, Emerson’s writing doesn’t quite carry it off. The dialogue is a bit stilted, and readers may wonder why Maria didn’t stop after the first page ripped. Cartoon illustrations depict a diverse town; Maria and Robbie have light tan skin and dark hair, while Ms. Bea is pale with white hair.
The message is important but the delivery lacks the spark that will keep readers coming back. (Picture book. 4-8)—Kirkus Reviews