Rai, Bo and the Monster
by Konstantine Mendrinos

"But what really made them very special was an extraordinary gift. The gift was about making everything happy through their paintings."

Rai and Bo, two children who live in the clouds, are given an extraordinary gift of making everything happy through their paintings. But while Bo’s paintings are filled with joy, beauty, and peace, Rai’s paintings are dark, gloomy, and sad. One day, Bo finds a hideous monster sitting on a black, thunderous cloud and realizes it is Rai, whose jealousy toward Bo’s paintings has transformed him into something ugly and unlovable. Bo frees Rai from unhappiness by painting him with beautiful colors, and Rai finally learns to use happy colors. They continue to paint together, and everything they paint lives on with goodness and peace.

Mendrinos weaves a radiant story about the healing power of love and friendship. Using the experiences of Rai and Bo with their contrasting paintings, the author highlights how inner positivity or negativity can affect what we do. Bo’s compassion helps him turn destructive ice balls into snowflakes and an angry sea into a calm one with his painting. But Rai’s anger and sadness compel him to create fear and misery, thereby alienating Rai from himself and from his gift. Thus, though both have the same gift, the consequences of their actions are vastly different. That guidance and encouragement from a true friend can steer one in the right direction is beautifully portrayed when Bo rescues Rai from his inner monster and makes him cheerful again. Rai’s realization about the purpose of his gift is significant since it brings out the importance of creating happiness through one’s own actions—a valuable lesson for children. Colorful, vivid descriptions and a friendly tone make this book thoroughly enjoyable, and children will surely love the adorable illustrations. Sweet and uplifting, this book powerfully conveys that we can make this world a better place with the gifts that we’ve been blessed with.

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