Monday, August 10, 2015

Shh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton

Four characters in simple shapes and stair-step sizes carry nets through the forest. One spots a brightly colored bird and they begin to sneak up on it. They hush the smallest one who has a different idea of how to approach the bird. Each of their three-step plans fails spectacularly. The repetitive pattern will encourage story listeners to chant along as they count to three.

Haughton's blue pages feel wintry though the trees have leaves and there are flowers on the ground. By contrast, the birds are a riot of reds. The blunted cone shape of the four characters reminded me of Tomi Ungerer's The Three Robbers. As you can see, they are mostly eyes and long noses with the suggestion of knitted hats. But their simple faces convey lots of feeling. Haughton received the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award for 2015.

In addition to the simple counting lesson, Shh! We Have a Plan suggests an ethical lesson about making friends instead of catching creatures. It would pair nicely with My Spring Robin by Anne Rockwell for a very early STEM experience, and with Michael Rosen's We're Going on a Bear Hunt for action. 

Review by Carolyn Caywood, retired from VBPL

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