The Thank You Book (Mary Lyn Ray)

Hello, friends! Our book today is The Thank You Book, written by Mary Lyn Ray and illustrated by Stephanie Graegin, a lovely little read that encourages us to find time to be thankful.

Learning to say “thank you” is important, of course; we learn it to be polite, and to express gratitude and respect for the people in our lives. But sometimes, it’s also important to pause and say “thank you”, not to a person, but to the things in life that make us feel safe and happy. To take a moment to thank the sun for rising each day, for glitter and glue, for parades and storytime, for picnics and warm food shared with friends. There is goodness in this, taking stock of all the wonderful things in life and quietly, inwardly expressing gratitude for them – it helps us find peace and satisfaction in the little things. And at the end of each day, we can all snuggle into our cozy beds and be thankful for the world we live in, its promise, and that we are all sharing the next sunrise.

How absolutely wonderful. From the first page, I loved the focus on, not only saying thank you to others, but on being thankful for the many small and wondrous blessings we encounter each day (and while I say “blessings”, the book is not religious – though it could absolutely be interpreted that way if the reader so chose). There is such a lovely gentleness to the way the text points out all the tiny pleasures of life that fill us with a spark of joy or happiness, using quiet imagery that feels like being wrapped in a blanket. The illustrations are absolutely fantastic, featuring a diverse cast of anthropomorphic animals and multi-ethnic children to show a community of diversity and inclusion. The length is perfect for a short storytime, and JJ loved it. A beautiful encouragement to find gratitude in daily life, and we adored it. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Thank You, Mr. Panda (Steve Antony)

Hello, friends! Today’s review is a new addition to our home library, Thank You, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony, the third book in the wonderful Mr. Panda series.

Little Lemur sees that Mr. Panda has an armful of gifts, and asks who they are for. Mr. Panda replies that they’re for his friends, so Lemur accompanies him as he hands out handmade presents to Mouse, Octopus, Elephant and Mountain Goat. None of the animals are quite pleased with their gifts (which are all ill-fitting clothes), but Lemur reminds them that it’s the thought that counts. And in fact, the last gift is for Lemur himself: a too-large pair of underwear! But Lemur still remembers to say “Thank you, Mr. Panda!”; after all, it’s important to have good manners!

As with its predecessors, this book is a subtle and fun lesson in manners, obviously placing the emphasis on showing gratitude when someone gives you a thoughtful gift, even if it isn’t perfect. And as with the previous two books, we loved the visual gags, the colorful and lively art, and the adorably gruff Mr. Panda. However, I did miss a theme that the previous two books had shared: the animal friend that displayed the good manners came away with the greatest reward. Here, Lemur is the only one of Mr. Panda’s friends who remembers to say thank you, yet still ends up with a gift he can’t really use. Perhaps this wouldn’t have bothered me so if the best present of the bunch, a pile of delicious donuts, had not gone to perhaps the rudest animal of all (the elephant, who did not even open the gift when it was given). It threw me for a bit of a loop, considering the previous two books shared this plot device, but I suppose that could be the point: it truly is the thought that counts. Regardless, the length was great, and JJ still adored her grumpy panda as always, so this one is still very much Baby Bookworm approved.