4 out of 4 stars
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There are lots of children's books in the world. Some are playful, some are cute, some offer important lessons to children, and some are just for fun, but my favorite children's stories are all relatable. Giving a child something they can understand and relate to is key, far more than any of the previously listed things. Especially when it comes to children's books I've never heard of and don't grab out of a book store, it seems like the majority either have super cute art or they have good writing, but very few do both. But to combine both great art and writing along with playfulness, relatability and teaching a good lesson is the rarest of all, and that's exactly what Dynomike: What's Heartfulness? by Frankie B. Rabbit does.
Dynomike: What's Heartfulness? is all about Dynomike and his friends. It's a gorgeous day and they decide to ride their bikes, but when they go to Jack Brussels' house to pick him up he says he can't go out because his mom is sick. He's incredibly sad, both that his mom is so sick and that his friends will be having fun without him, but also doesn't want them to give up a day of fun just because of him.
After a few silly suggestions by his friends Spunky and Winky to help make Jack Brussels' day better, Dynomike comes up with an idea: heartfulness! Winky has no idea what that is, so Dynomike explains it to her (and secretly to the reader as well): it's all about being kind, to yourself and to others, so he and his friends come up with loving gifts to give Jack Brussels' mom rather than going out and playing on their own.
The art in Dynomike: What's Heartfulness? is super cute, sharp, and colorful. I love the little touches, like Jack Brussels' mom peeking as the children leave their gifts behind for her, and the emotions are all incredibly clear, from the sadness on Jack Brussels's face to the joy and love on Dynomike's and his friends' faces. The text always pops regardless of the background and I never once had an issue figuring out what was being said. Don Suartos, the illustrator, did an excellent job on every page of the book.
There are a total of eight books in the Dynomike series, and this is far from the first, but I never felt like I was missing anything. The characters are smoothly introduced and there are no events referred to outside of the book. I also really enjoyed that even though a lot of the book rhymes, it uses near rhymes and skips rhyming altogether when the author would otherwise have to force a rhyme. Forced rhymes are one of the things that bring an otherwise great book down for me, and I didn't see a single one in this book.
To seal the perfect 4 out of 4 star review score I'm giving it, I absolutely loved the lesson in the book and there's terrific potential for some fun reading it aloud. Little is more important to me than teaching others to be kind to others, and this really shows the impact that kindness can have. Not only that, it shows that it can even be fun to show someone you care about them! And with the art showing such clear emotion it's easy to figure out how to read the book aloud to children with some passion and enthusiasm. In fact, I found nothing at all to improve on! If you have children who enjoy learning about friendship and heartfulness (being kind) or who love animals (Dynomike's friends are all various types of animals), this is a very easy book to recommend.
Dynomike: What's Heartfulness?
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