|Picture Books That Explore and Illuminate
Sofia and Maddi live in the same neighborhood, play in the same park, and both have
pesky little brothers. But while Sofia's fridge at home is full of milk and eggs and tortillas and cheese
and lettuce and jam and even half a can of dog food, Maddi's fridge is empty -- white empty --
with just a small container of milk for her brother, Ryan.
“Why doesn’t your mom go the grocery store?” Sofia asked.
“We don’t have any money.”
“What if you get hungry?”
“We have some bread.” Maddi said.
“I guess I’d better go home,” Sofia said.
Sofia promises Maddi she won't tell, but is still determined to help. She sneaks food for Maddi in
her bag and discovers that while fish and eggs are good for people, they aren't very good for
backpacks. Despite Sofia's very best efforts, Maddi's fridge is still empty. Sofia promised not to
tell. Now what can she do?
Hardcover, 32 full color pages, ages 4-8
Full Transcript of Review by Sue Davis, owner of River Lights Books, on Iowa
Public Radio’s 2014 Children’s Holiday Book Guide
Sue: On my list, and I don’t even have a copy in front of me because I can’t stop
selling it, is the book called Maddi’s Fridge by Lois Brandt. It’s her first foray into
picture books and I have been on a soapbox about this book since it came out in
September. I’m sure our Facebook friends know that. We spent a whole week on it.
The book contains an important message about childhood hunger, but it’s a picture
book and never gets preachy or it doesn’t seem like an issue book at all. It’s a story
about two friends who play at the playground and get along and they go to one girl’s
house, they go over to Maddi’s house, and there’s very little in the fridge. And Maddi’
s embarrassed and asks her friend Sofia to not tell anyone that this is the condition at
her house. And she makes her promise. Well, she goes home and feels terribly guilty
about all the wonderful food, healthy food they have at the house and even their dog
has lots of food, and ponders this again and again. She tries to help her friend by
taking food to her, and one of the favorite passages from the book is at the playground
when this has happened and it is: “Yuck,” Maddi said. “Double yuck,” Sofia said.
“Eggs may be good for kids but eggs are not good for backpacks.” And this happens
again with fish. [Interjection by interviewer: OH!] Sue: Yeah, I know, I know. So that’s
part of the story and it goes on and what Sofia decides to do, but this is all supported
by these joyful illustrations by Vin Vogel who has another book coming out, but I
looked, and I believe it’s his first, at least, major release of a picture book. It shows
this hipster city with yoga studios and musicians and bikers and all that going on and
lots to look at, and then almost a cartoonish image of these girls in their homes that
kids just love. And it lightens this whole, what’s happening with the storyline, and
there are other little subplots too that are fun to watch. Maddi’s Fridge. And this is
also, you know, about keeping secrets, what’s important, and one of my favorite
sweetest moments is when Sofia does decide to tell her mother and see if they can
help. And when she sees Maddi again, Maddi says, “You broke your promise.” “I’m
sorry,” Sofia says, “are you mad?” “A promise is important,” Maddi said. “You’re
more important,” Sofia said. And I think that was just a beautiful, sincere way to
handle this. And it is a delightful book with a very important message.
Peek inside by clicking the cover