Shh!: We Have a Plan by Chris Laughton
To my mind (Ruth here), this is the perfect picture book to share with little ones. It has all the elements to make it great: a winsome story; clear, bright illustrations with lots of clues and inferences; and plenty of wry humor to entice both the audience and the reader. The story is set at night, as you can tell from the delicious deep blues and purples, and four stark figures march along, with the littlest one at the end of the line. The bigger characters all hold nets in their hands, and stop when a bright pink bird comes into view. “Hello, Birdie,” greets the little guy. “Shh! We have plan,” the others tell him. pointing to their nets and a bird cage. They tiptoe toward the bird–with absolutely hysterical expressions on their faces–and the bird easily evades them as they grab for it. This is repeated in different situations–paddling, climbing–but it is the little one who makes friends with the bird and its whole flock. A surprising twist–and a circular ending. I can vouch for this book’s appeal. I just gave a copy to my littlest nephew Boden (3 years old), who delighted in the reading, and picked it right up to pore over the book alone afterward. We have a copy on our coffee table, and readers of all ages have picked it up and enjoyed it as well. Highly recommended!