The Smile Shop


Will The Smile Shop have anything to offer that the boy can afford? It’s his day to buy anything he wants from the pocket money he’s collected. However, disaster strikes. After investigating the town, full of wonder, smells, sounds and sensations, he’s realised he ‘hasn’t enough to buy anything new.’

While he’s been oblivious to the town, it’s pulsated all around him. The boy has chanced upon items of fascination, but we readers have been overwhelmed at the plethora and possibilities beyond him. What is going on with the township? Everyone is busy in their own work, interacting with each other, overlapping. What might happen when the boy asks if he ‘could buy a smile, please?’ What might he see, share and realise?

Bookwagon loves the layers of commentary and life in The Smile Shop. There are so many stories to read, so much to imagine and dream upon. This book is rather like a Lowry painting in some way, wherein we pick apart, recognise and wonder.

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The Smile Shop

Satoshi Kitamura

(Scallywag Press)– hardback

What would you do if you had a handful of pocket money and set out ‘to buy [yourself] something for the very first time’? Would you go to The Smile Shop? Maybe it’s not your first choice when the town’s streets are full of busy people and there are ‘tasty apple pies‘ and ‘tempting smells’. Perhaps you’d be lured by a clock, a ‘beautiful little boat‘ or an interesting book? There are sounds and hats… it seems there’s so much and one decision to make!
Therefore, what happens if you lose your money in some way? Could it be that The Smile Shop might prove a refuge? How much might a smile cost? Or rather, what might the manager of this shop offer you for your money? Thereafter, what might you notice around you?
While this is an allegorical title, in some ways, the depth of message is subtle and picture hidden. It seems when we first investigate the book that the main character is operating outside of his setting. The other characters seem disassociated from him, going about their lives in such multi-layered ways to which he is oblivious. What is going on? There is such a cacophony of background and yet the main character’s focus is so singularly intent! How might this change?
This is an outstanding, provocative, thoughtful picture book. Satoshi Kitamura makes us think, look and feel. Just take a step into Hat Tricks for example. Bookwagon is enthralled by this superb Scallywag title.


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