Ben Yokoyama and the Cookie of Perfection

Knopf. (Cookie Chronicles: Bk. 3). Dec. 2021. 336p. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9780593302774.
Gr 3-5–When third grader Ben Yokayama receives a fortune cookie from his best friend Janet, the message inside gives him a jolt of inspiration: “Practice Makes Perfect.” This not only explains why his mom’s pancakes are burnt to a crisp and why the jersey his dad washed is covered in Chapstick grease, but also why Ben can’t hit every baseball during his games or play Debussy’s “Clair de Lune” just right. They all just need more practice! And when he meets new student Darby (secretly a superhero), he realizes that not only is perfection possible, but if he just practices more, he can be perfect himself. His quest for perfection has a few bumps along the way, including the realization that being perfect isn’t all Ben thought it would be. Using a similar style to Jeff Kinney and Lincoln Peirce, this highly illustrated novel will have middle grade readers laughing out loud. The comic-style illustrations take a central place in this novel, as they not only tell part of the story, but also infuse humor into almost every page. Careful layouts keep the plot moving at a quick pace. Among the high jinks are some tender moments as well, including important lessons imparted by teachers, neighbors, and friends. In this third installment of the “Cookie Chronicles,” readers are given a generous dose of laughter and a reminder that perfection is only attainable when you are the best version of yourself.
VERDICT This series will be a huge hit for readers of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and “Big Nate.” A great addition to all middle grade collections.

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