Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Addison Braves Brazil, written by Laura James and illustrated by Jasmine Smith, is a mid-grade interactive storybook that takes readers into South America through the eyes of a young girl. Addison is introduced as an upbeat girl from Arkansas with a mother who is a pilot and a father who is a writer, just as they embark on a trip to Brazil. It seemed bizarre, but a book about Brazil’s jungles had gotten mixed in with her books about beaches. This makes Addison uncomfortable. Once in Brasilia and settled with a host family, Addison experiences local food and culture, a hiccup with another child, and a place she was hoping never to see: a Brazilian jungle.
Laura James crafts a clever little story in Addison Braves Brazil, taking the opportunity to educate on two different fronts. The first is the misconceptions foreign visitors can have that are most often wrong. By allowing Addison's fears to chip away organically at stereotypes through positive experience, we are able to see a girl who is vivacious in North America find her vivacious self in South America too. The second is the incorporation of words that stick as close to the letter 'B' as possible within the story's framework. The intent here is to enhance vocabulary and word definitions, which it does. Jasmine Smith breathes life into Addison, her family, her hosts, and the beauty and diversity of Brazil in a vivid color palette and gorgeous illustrations. This book was all kinds of fun to read with my youngest and I have no doubt others will have the same experience.