Saturday, July 8, 2017

Review: Maddi's Fridge by Lois Brandt

by Lois Brandt
Illustrated by Vin Vogel
Flashlight Press
Picture Book
ages 4+
32 pages

With humor and warmth, this children’s picture book raises awareness about poverty and hunger

Best friends Sofia and Maddi live in the same neighborhood, go to the same school, and play in the same park, but while Sofia’s fridge at home is full of nutritious food, the fridge at Maddi’s house is empty. Sofia learns that Maddi’s family doesn’t have enough money to fill their fridge and promises Maddi she’ll keep this discovery a secret. But because Sofia wants to help her friend, she’s faced with a difficult decision: to keep her promise or tell her parents about Maddi’s empty fridge. Filled with colorful artwork, this storybook addresses issues of poverty with honesty and sensitivity while instilling important lessons in friendship, empathy, trust, and helping others. A call to action section, with six effective ways for children to help fight hunger and information on antihunger groups, is also included.

Winner of. . .

2014 Christopher Award, Books for Young People
2014 ILA Primary Fiction Award
2015 MLA Mitten Award Honor
Human Rights in Children's Literature Honor


This book now hits the top of my daughter's favorite reads list, and what a wonderful book it is!

Sofia and Maddi are great friends and love to spend time together on the playground, but over time, Sofia's noticed that Maddi never has snacks or much to eat. When Sofia heads to Maddi's fridge to grab something to nibble on, the space is almost empty. Swearing not to tell anyone that Maddi's mom can't afford to buy more, Sofia tries to find a way to help out her friend.

This story has already received several awards, and it has earned each single one. The two girls are sweet and best friends in every sense--something kids will sympathize with and know. It's hard not to feel sorry for Maddi, when Sofia opens that empty fridge. The heart-strings twang even more when Maddi admits her generous spirit of wanting to make sure her little brother gets some of her portions since he's smaller. 

But this isn't about feeling sorry for a poor family. Sofia's stuck in a sticky situation. She wants to help Maddi while still keeping her promise. It's not an easy dilemma, and this is something young readers/listeners will understand and try to come up with a solution themselves while Sofia works out her own. In other words, the kids will think along and set themselves in the situation.

The illustrations are well done and add the right emotion to the story in all the right ways. Kids can flip through and follow the story on their own. The text is fit in and around the pictures, never too much and with a vocabulary fitting to the intended audience. In other words, it's a wonderful read aloud and will draw young listeners in. This is a great read especially for kids ages 4 and up.

And here she is. . .

Years ago, Lois peeked into her best friend's refrigerator and found empty shelves and one small carton of milk; her friend's mother didn't have enough money to buy food. Maddi's Fridge, Lois's first picture book, is the result of that moment. When she is not working on her own projects, Lois teaches writers of all ages to tell the stories that are close to their hearts. Lois lives near Seattle, Washington, with her husband, assorted kids, two dogs, and a fluffy cat who thinks he's a dog. You can visit Lois at

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