Book Review: Fortune Cookies by Albert Bitterman


Fortune Cookies by Albert Bitterman, illustrations by Chris Raschka

One day, a young girl gets a package in the mail that contains seven fortune cookies.  She opens one cookie each day.  The fortunes are done as pull tabs in the book, nicely mimicking the pleasure of cracking open a cookie and the surprise of the fortune.  Each fortune moves the story forward a bit.  The first talks about losing something you don’t need, and she loses her tooth.  The next about money being like the wind, and she finds a dollar under her pillow and buys a kite.  The next fortune is more vague, about finding the good with the bad.  Here the girl loses her kite, but finds a cat and takes her home.  As the days pass, more fortunes are read, the cat is lost and later found in the fort the girl has built.  But one last surprise awaits that makes for a very satisfying fortune indeed.

Librarians will be very pleased with the tabs here, because they will stand up nicely to public use.  There are only seven of them and they are sturdy and move easily back and forth.  Equally pleasing is that the tabs make sense here.  They are not an afterthought of the story, but an integral pleasure of the book and fortune cookies themselves.  The story is intriguing with its mix of fortunes, straight-forward action, and then the satisfying resolution.  It makes for a book that is great fun to read, because one is never sure what will happen next, though you have been given a clue in the fortune.

Raschka’s art adds another dimension here.  His splashing watercolors are very pleasing on the white background.  Combining this free-feeling art with the dimension of the tabs creates a book that is not only unusual in its artistry but a joy to explore and read.

A fortunate pick for any reader, this book is appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Beach Lane Books.

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