335. “Mario Makes a Move” by Jill McElmurry


Mario the squirrel liked to make different moves: from “twirly ballet arms” to “super looper”. The whole family thought the moves were amazing, artistic, astonishing…. So did Mario, of course. However,  when his Amazing Amazer didn’t  to impress his friend, Isabelle,  Mario started doubting his amazing skill and hobby. Should he start collecting sticks instead? Isabelle, had a better idea. The two combined their skills and created something even more amazing. 

Hilarious, witty, engaging, and humorously illustrated story about two athletic squirrels. It can be read for pure entertainment but it doesn’t lack  deeper messages. For one, it promotes teamwork. Mario and Isabelle’s team performance was so much more impressive than their individual stunts. Secondly, it shows that nothing good comes from raising a child in a bubble of superlatives. If Mario’s family provided him with some reality check, he wouldn’t be so disappointed to hear that “anyone can make a move”. Children need to know their value and need to feel loved, but if we constantly brainwash them with “the best, the smartest, the prettiest…”, then no wonder that we arrive at millions of talentless teenagers competing to become a new American Idol.

Recently a friend told me she resists calling her daughter pretty in order not to make her over-confident. My advice was just to add two words to the complement: you are so pretty FOR ME. Every child should be the prettiest for their parents, but no parent should make their child believe that the whole world turns around them. It is simply unfair to the child.

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