- Author: Julia Suzuki
- ISBN: 9781782199243
- Publisher: Dino Books
- Genre: Fantasy
I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
I wish I hadn’t wasted my time with this book. It started out ok, but it devolved into a message that I don’t think any child should hear. That message said that if you’re being bullied, you have to change. If you’re a little heavier than the average kid, you have to get fit to be accepted, and if you do, not only will others be more approving, but you’ll be perfect and everything will go your way. You’ll be a hero. You’ll be successful. All you have to do is get in shape. It’s likely that the author meant her message to be one of exercise and fitness being confidence and self-esteem builders, but that’s not how it comes across.
The other problem I had was with the plot itself. Events fell into place a little too easily, even for a children’s story. It also lacks any real depth. Many of the reviews I read for The Gift of Charms said this was an all-ages book. That’s not true. The only readers I could see enjoying this story without rolling their eyes at how easily Yoshiko succeeds at everything he does as soon as he’s gotten rid of his belly are children up to the 2nd, maybe 3rd, grade.
I don’t want to recommend this book to anyone, but if you’re still interested in giving or reading it to a child, take a couple hours (the book is really short) and read it yourself first, so that you’re fully aware of the kind of lesson that child will be learning. There are much better books out there that deal with the subjects of bullying, diversity, and fitness.