Debbie Glade reviews Mario Makes a Move ($16.99, Schwartz and Wade, Ages 3 and up), a story about a little squirrel with a big desire to impress.
Mario spends his days trying to impress everyone with his “amazing” moves – jumping, spinning, flying and twirling. But his friend, Isabelle, isn’t too impressed with Mario’s moves no matter what he does, as she shows him some tricks of her own. Mario gets jealous and accuses Isabelle of stealing his best moves. When she makes him realize all the other animals in town have their own great moves, too, he stops doing tricks and starts collecting sticks, which is, well, kind of boring. It isn’t until Mario and Isabelle put their heads and skills together that truly amazing things start to happen.
Author and illustrator Jill McElmurry subtly teaches the reader that, although it’s normal to want to excel at something, people don’t like a braggart. Even more important, she teaches that cooperation and collaboration can often lead to far better endings than trying to do everything yourself and possibly alienating everyone around you.
This little book for young readers has a big message and delivers it in a charming and entertaining story. The watercolor artwork moves the story along beautifully, and Mario’s moves are even sketched out on graph paper.
Each and every one of us wants to be exceptional at something we do and be recognized for it. And every now and then we need to be reminded that if we work well with others, extraordinary things can happen – just as they do for Mario and Isabelle.