Thankful (Elaine Vickers)

Hello friends, and Happy Thanksgiving! Our book today is a special holiday treat: Thankful, written by Elaine Vickers and illustrated by Samantha Cotterill, a visually stunning tale of appreciation.

Every year, when the first snow falls, our unnamed child narrator has a special family tradition. They always make “thankful” paper chains to last through December, with each handwritten link expressing thanks for something the maker feels gratitude for. It can be hard to think of so many things, so the narrator explains that they like to start in their own room. They give thanks for a safe and warm home, loving parents, and the goodnight poem they repeat each bedtime. They are thankful for night and mornings, the moon and sun, and stars and candle to make wishes on. Soon our narrator is thinking of plenty of things to be thankful for, even as they grow too sleepy to continue the chain. Tucking into bed, the child expresses gratitude for what they are most thankful for: the wide, wonderful world outside.

A Thanksgiving feast for the eyes. While the text can read a little mature for a child’s voice, the sentiment of appreciating the little things in one’s life is always a welcome one. To that end, there are a few special moments that are particularly heartwarming, such as expressing thanks for a furry friend who comforts us when we’re scared, a teacher who shows patience and support, or the worlds of imagination that lie between the pages of books. But what truly elevates this title is the phenomenal artwork, comprised of illustrated characters placed within gorgeously-detailed miniature sets and then photographed. The play of focus, color, motion, and texture creates an incredible visual world filled with stunning detail, and each page is as striking as the last. The length is best for elementary-aged readers, and JJ loved the beautiful artwork. Well worth the read – a sweet and timeless message with a remarkable visual style. Baby Bookworm approved!

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

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.)