Real kids can become superheroes.
123 Sunshine St., located in a multiethnic community, is the apartment-building home to Oliver (who’s Black), Mia (with brown skin and long, textured dark hair), Sophie (with olive skin and straight, black hair), and brothers Lucas and Tommy (both White). Oliver is an artist, Mia a skateboarder, Sophie a pet whisperer, and Lucas a jokester. In their collective imagination, they turn those talents into superpowers to save the neighborhood. And Tommy? He seems to be too young to have a supertalent. But when a chain reaction of problems occurs, Tommy’s superpower—kindness—shines. Encouraged by Tommy’s success, the five children create the Sunshine Squad to really help the neighborhood. Backmatter includes a tangentially related story and ways to spread sunshine. Readers can see the Sunshine Squad in action in the simultaneously publishing sequel, Sophie and the Tiny Dognapping. When Sophie steals Mia’s dollhouse dog, she experiences all the emotional and physical reactions of a guilty conscience. Although the Sunshine Squad is busy helping their other neighbors, they have time to give Sophie (and young readers) some good advice. In both books, colorful cartoon illustrations with many close-ups on faces capture the struggle of trying to do what is right. The books kick off the Chicken Soup for the Soul Kids series, their mission clear and their good intentions well executed.
Slightly pedantic but with ethical situations children will relate to and good kid-to-kid advice.