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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Introduction to the concept of fables. Landscape, architecture, and costume suggest medieval era. Boy holds compass-like device with N, E, S, and W printed on it.
Seize the golden opportunities that present themselves to you! You don't have to be brave all the time, you just have to be brave at the right time. When you let go of your fears, you'll feel excitement, and though you still might be afraid, the excitement's bigger than the fear. When you hold back, you miss out. Taking a chance might be "the start of something incredible."
Positive Role Models
The boy is realistically human in that he at first doesn't take a chance and gets embarrassed when he tries and fails. But he works up his courage. Though he still feels a bit of fear, taking a chance feels good. He doesn't want to miss out anymore since "There's just so much I want to see and do and discover."
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that What Do You Do with a Chance? is the third and final book in the best-selling series by Kobi Yamada and Mae Besom that started with What Do You Do with an Idea? and continued with What Do You Do with a Problem?. The books follow a formula: A young tunic-clad kid encounters an abstraction (idea, problem, chance) that appears in physical form, and by trial and error he figures out the best way to deal with it. Some kids may be confused by the abstract concept, even though it's physicalized, and may respond more to stories that present real-life scenarios. But others may tuck the helpful advice and encouragement in their (abstract) pockets to have at the ready. The book could also be a good present for recent grads or others of any age who need encouragement to snag those golden chances when they flit by.
Is It Any Good?
Folks who like their lessons in fable form will relate to this inspirational tale of a young boy and the winged golden "chance" he works up the courage to grab. Set in an unspecified time and place, What Do You Do with a Chance? features a ruddy-cheeked boy with tousled hair who wears slouchy boots and a tunic with a pattern that looks vaguely Nordic, and lives in a town that suggests medieval Europe (though one child wears glasses and reads a book). Illustrator Mae Besom paints the town and other inhabitants in sepia, while the boy is in color and the chance is bright gold.
While the story is abstract, it resonates because it pictures the chance as real and physical, bright and butterfly-like. Also, author Kobi Yamada has written the boy as recognizably human -- embarrassed when he falls and others laugh, continuing to yearn for a chance, and wondering "if I would ever be brave enough." The mix of feelings rings true. He thinks, "Maybe I don’t have to be brave all the time. Maybe I just need to be brave for a little while at the right time." And when he runs after the chance, "It wasn't that I was no longer afraid, but now my excitement was bigger than my fear." By articulating the steps in the boy's decision to be brave, the story gives kids language to guide and support them in their quest to seize their own opportunities.
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.