The Cool Bean is part of Jory John’s series that includes The Good Egg, The Bad Seed and The Good Egg Presents: The Great Eggscape! (coming in February 2020). The Cool Bean is just like the other stories in this group. There are more than a few puns about being “a cool bean” and bean puns in general. The story is simple: Our narrator used to hang out with a handful of beans in olden times (as long ago as last year), but this year they have changed and are now the cool kids/beans in school. Every page reminds us of that. And every page has the narrator trying something new to be cool as well. But they all fail. This leads to our Bean narrator losing their self-esteem and giving up. That is, until the day the cool beans show this “has bean” what it really means to be cool.
Pete Oswald’s signature style of illustrations once again are complimenting the story. Great color, fun images, the right detail and the silly and the serious are perfectly balanced. They are cozy and familiar images. We have seen them in our schools (hallways, lockers), neighborhoods (buildings, streets) or even in our other books and movies.
And there is the issue This story has been done before. The self-esteem issues and puns and illustrations are nothing new. That is not to say this story is not a good one, but it is just like the others in the series. Therefore, if you liked The Good Egg or The Bad Seed most likely you will enjoy this one too.