For those who don't know, (and I'll have to admit I wasn't quite sure myself), the dictionary definition of serendipity is "accidental sagacity; the faculty of making fortunate discoveries you aren't looking for." It is getting everything you dreamed of when you aren't expecting anything. It brings to mind the familiar line that one finds happiness when he isn't looking for it, or least expects it.

Serendipity is a rather scary word for those who are only knee-high. It is almost as big as they are, and it even sounds daunting. But author Tobi Tobias takes this nonsensical noun and makes it . . . well, delightful.

Accompanied by whimsical illustrations, this little book relates a series of unexpected surprises; it IS serendipity! Tobias reveals the meaning of the word through a string of easy-to-understand metaphors. "Serendipity is putting a quarter in the gumball machine and having three pieces come rattling out instead of one all red." Or, "Serendipity is when you spill ANOTHER glass of milk, and your mom says, ÔAccidents will happen.'" Even "Serendipity is when your old stuffed bear that you really don't care about anymore, except you used to sleep with it ISN'T lost." This is a touching book that children will love you know how they love a surprise. And in sharing it with them, you might learn a new big word in return! Carolyn Cates lives, writes, and occasionally discovers serendipity in Nashville.

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