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Friday, April 22, 2011

except if, written and illustrated by Jim Averbeck. Atheneum, Simon & Schuster, 2011. $14.99 ages 3 and up

"An egg is not
a baby bird,
but it will become one

except if"

It's tough to share such a simple book without telling you the whole story. Kids will love it and it will fire their imagination to consider other options for its direction. The opening lines (shown above) set readers off on an adventure with thought-provoking text and entertaining artwork.

Jim Averback knows how to hold a young reader's attention by giving just enough time to explore a new idea before the page is turned. It reminds me of Laura Vaccaro Singer's wonderful What If  (Roaring Brook, 2010). Simple, but such an opportunity for talk and critical thinking for readers and listeners. There are surprises that might upend their predictions. I expect that will only add to the fun. He keeps up the pretense until this circular story comes to a satisfying end.

It gives kids pause about jumping to conclusions, and that is an important little lesson for each one of us.

Heartwarming and engaging. Can we ask for more in books that we share with our favorite up and coming readers?

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