I'm the Missing Piece
by Michele Mariscal
Trafford Publishing

"I heard the Great Thought say, 'You have to be who you are – it's the only way you will fit.'"

When a jigsaw puzzle is opened, the pieces are startled and must determine what their purpose is after being cooped up in a box. One Green Piece in particular preoccupies itself with the differences between it and the other pieces, losing focus on the end goal—to uniquely contribute to something greater. While not paying attention, Green Piece takes a tumble off the table and has to rely on other household residents like Candi Cane, Cecil Celery Stick, Freddie Fly, and Bruiser the dog to reunite it with the other pieces that it shared the box with in time to fulfill its destiny. These equally confused or troubled items that have come to life do what they can for Green Piece or try to help it figure out the answers to its questions.

A simple story about not getting caught up with what others look like or do presents a valuable lesson here for children about being themselves without being compared to others. The characters are interesting and unique, ranging from genuine helpfulness to more self-serving motivations and attitudes, but the quest to find and not stray from that which Green Piece is meant to do stays the focus tof the story. Throughout the book, the Great Thought, a disembodied voice that reassures and attempts to assuage Green Piece's concerns offers words of wisdom both to the main character and the reader. The message of this story does not bog down the lightheartedness of its presentation, allowing it to serve as a simple story-time read or an introduction to a celebration of self by the reader to their audience.

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