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Monday, October 13, 2014

Shh! WE HAVE A PLAN, by Chris Haughton. Candlewick Press, Random House. 2014. $18.00 ages 3 and up

up there

hello, birdie



we have a plan."

Oh my! What a truly delightful book this is...I can't wait to share it in a classroom! Kids will be skulking along with the 'planners', and helping me read it in no time flat! It is one terrific picture book.

Three hunters (and a much smaller tagalong), dressed in dark clothing and sporting nets, make their way along a forest path. When their keen (and googly) eyes spot a brightly colored bird on a nearby branch, the tiny follower offers a warm hello. He is told, in whispered threats, to be quiet as they have a plan!

Staying behind, he watches as the three tiptoe toward their prey, nets at the ready. At the moment of capture each falls over the other in a jumble of arms and legs; the bird flies off. Rats! Next, they spot that same bird on a much higher branch, leading to the need for a ladder. The little one is again happy to just say hello. The ladder gets them to a more realistic height for success...but, you guessed it. Foiled again, by their own ineptitude. Still, they are ready for a third attempt.

What do YOU think...a log on a stream and a bird in the water? Nope! The bird flies to shore where the fourth 'hunter' is waiting with a tiny bread crumb, and then more. The tender morsels attract a gathering flock. The hunters are tempted, and intent on capture. They do not see the strength in bird numbers until it's too late. Off they run, empty nets in hand. They do not, however, know the word defeat. NEVAH! 

Distinctive, graphically rendered, and humorous artwork is what I have come to expect from the very talented Chris Haughton. He does not disappoint! In bold blues and blacks, with touches of brilliant color for the birds, he has created a perfect picture book for young readers. The words are spare and repetitive, creating the tension needed. It is a book that must be added to your ever-expanding shelf of anytime readalouds. 

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