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The Jelly Donut Difference
Dexter and Leah, siblings, who despite being twins, do not get along. The two reach out to help an elderly neighbor who is a lonely widow. The neighbor tells stories of her past, living in a foreign country. With empathy and understanding, the twins devised a plan to pay it forward to this neighbor and in the process, learn about respecting and working together. The changes they discover by helping someone else, becomes the foundation for the universal language of kindness.
Reviews
Dismondy introduces twins Dexter and Leah, who squabble with each other but extend kindness to an elderly neighbor. While picking up eggs from Ms. Marvis, who lives nearby, Dexter notices how quiet her house is and suggests that his parents invite her over for dinner. During the meal, Ms. Marvis shares stories of making paczki (jelly donuts) with her family in Poland before Lent; with help from their father, the children whip up a batch of paczki for their neighbor, who responds with a long thank-you note. British author-illustrator Brooks evokes the story’s wintertime setting through a minty palette of pale blues, pinks, and greens, contrasting cozy kitchen-centric scenes with outdoor flurries and snowdrifts. Although both children seem to recognize the rewards of their kind actions, neither grows much as a character: Dexter starts and finishes the book as an empathetic peacemaker, while Leah is antagonistic and not much else. Even so, this earnest story of being a good sibling, neighbor, and friend may inspire readers to find ways to be generous in their own lives. All that’s missing is a paczki recipe. Ages 4–8. (BookLife)

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