Joey lives with Grandpa, a kindly man who reads a bedtime story to his grandson each night. But this night is different. It’s Joey’s birthday and, in light of the important milestone, he asks for something new to shake up the routine. That’s when Grandpa retrieves a mysterious pouch from the closet. What could possibly be in it and what kind of excitement would it reveal?
So begins a night of surprises and self-discovery. JOEY AND THE BODACIOUS BEANS might span a single night in the life of little Joey, but a lot gets unpacked in this whimsically illustrated lesson in character development. When Joey opens Grandpa’s gift, he is puzzled to find a handful of beans. But these aren’t just any beans. These are Bodacious Beans, each infused with a specific “superpower,” the specifics of which crafty ol’ Grandpa keeps to himself. Dissatisfied with Grandpa’s claim that each bean is equally powerful, a tired Joey decides to table his curiosity for the night. When an explosion of lights and sound awaken him, he finds himself face to face with seven chatty, colorful legumes who, having escaped the confines of their pouch, take turns making the case for the superiority of their particular superpowers: purpose, love, forgiveness, acceptance, empathy, courage, and perseverance. Each quality, simply explained by the color-coded beans, is reinforced as Joey relates them to his personal experiences. Being forgiven by Grandpa for breaking a window, playing with a friend who wears a hearing aid, sharing the happiness of a friend who gets a new puppy – the scenarios deepen Joey’s understanding of what it means to be of good character and the positive effect of applying each virtue in daily situations.
While the point of JOEY AND THE BODACIOUS BEANS would have been well-served by a concluding emphasis on Joey’s epiphany – that each character trait has an equally important ability to create a better world – it’s a minor weak spot in light of the book’s overall value as a teaching tool. In that vein, the included discussion questions reinforce the book’s message and encourage critical thinking appropriate for the target age group of 3 to 7. Parents and teachers will appreciate this addition almost as much as young readers will appreciate repeat readings of this charming, visually captivating (illustrations bystory.
Fun and insightful, JOEY AND THE BODACIOUS BEANS uses lively prose, engaging characters, and cheerful illustrations to teach young readers the importance of cultivating tolerance, empathy, forgiveness, and other important virtues.
~Libby Wiersema for IndieReader