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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Molly Morningstar, Carnival Girl is a work of fiction in the picture book, adventure, and cultural diversity subgenres. It is intended for accompanied and newly-independent child readers, with a story penned by author Andrea Coke and illustrations provided by artist M. Fernanda Orozco. Following on from the utterly charming and moving A Doll For Me, we meet our protagonist Molly Morningstar again in a whole new adventure set at carnival time. Focusing specifically on cultural practices and dealing with life’s little disappointments, we see our resilient little Molly learn to deal with sudden changes, negative feelings, and how to live a brighter, more optimistic life.
It can be tricky to deliver social and cultural concepts on a level that is both interesting and resonant for extremely young readers, but author Andrea Coke has proven once again that she has an incredible talent for doing just that. I could easily imagine young readers who encounter this book comparing Molly’s experiences to rainy days and disappointments of their own, and recalling this brilliant little book to ask themselves ‘What Would Molly Do?’ in these times of crisis. The vibrant and engaging artwork by illustrator M. Fernanda Orozco only adds to the sense of emotion that you get from Molly’s exploits, both in the times when she is having fun, and when she has to deal with the struggles that form the basis of the plot. Overall, Molly Morningstar, Carnival Girl is a superb addition to the series that comes highly recommended for parents seeking positive role models for their little ones to fall in love with.