A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Story encourages thinking about relationships, change, and growth.
Great messages about compassion, kindness, and friendships: how they will change and how you don't have to be someone you're not to have good friends. Also stresses that being cool is about confidence in who you are, as well as using your "cool" to help, not hurt, others.
Positive Role Models
The narrator-bean envies former friends the cool beans, and feels like an uncool "has-bean," but is touched by the thoughtfulness they show on a bad day. He learns that being helpful, kind, and compassionate is actually what makes a (cool) good friend. The cool beans emerge as empathetic role models when they use their cool for good and not to exclude or hurt. Beans are different colors, genders, shapes, and sizes.
Violence & Scariness
Mild meanness: being picked last, laughed at, etc.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Cool Bean is by Jory John and illustrator Pete Oswald, the duo behind the best-selling picture books The Bad Seed and The Good Egg. This funny, whimsical story emphasizes positive messages about compassion, empathy, and friendship in a little-kid-friendly way. The narrator is an uncool bean, who misses his friends from the olden days (last year), who have become the cool beans, with awesome shades, fly clothes, and sweet swaggers. The cool beans don't pay their old friend much attention, until a really bad day, when they come to his aid. The way the cool beans emerge as role models offers a great opportunity to talk to young readers about the importance of being kind and helping, not hurting or excluding, others.
Is It Any Good?
This witty story, full of wonderful messages about the importance of friendship, compassion, and helping others, is a joy to read with little ones. Preschoolers will delight in The Cool Bean's hilarious pictures, older kids will relate to the story, and parents will appreciate author Jory John's lighthearted approach to teaching values and giggle at Pete Oswald's bean puns. The uncluttered spreads featuring sunglass-clad, guitar-playing, superhero-drawing beans reveal Oswald's skill at bringing out tons of personality in his bland subjects.
One small critique is that there's no apology from the cool beans for leaving out their old friend or reason given for why the cool beans choose that particular day to be kind and inclusive; some kids may wonder about this. Still, readers of all ages will adore this fun, heartfelt book.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.