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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

SWAP! Written and illustrated by Steve Light. Candlewick Press, Random House. 2016. $22.00 ages 3 and up

"A button....

An idea.

Let's SWAP!

One button for
two teacups.

He has an old rundown boat, a button and a good friend! Lucky sea captain that he is, they are all that he really needs. The young boy with a peg-leg wants to help his friend, and he knows what a good 'swap' is. Beginning with the button, and making their way around a series of islands, they are able to trade what they have for what they need to get the boat back in running order. They even manages to add some style.

Steve Light creates such amazing detailed spreads to inspire conversation and new learning. Using sharp black lines, leaving adequate white space and color only where necessary, he fills his pages with humor, warmth and the bonds of strong, true friendship. The story is inspiring in its message that we don't need money to make a good life ... just a little ingenuity and a will to make things better. It pays to be smart and honest.

You will recognize his work if you were lucky enough to share Have You Seen My Dragon? (2014) and Have You Seen My Monster? (2015). The story told is clever and heartwarming, leaving readers with a totally different look at seafarers. They are not your average sea-going pirates. Listeners and readers play a role as they echo the often repeated "SWAP!" to power the tale to its satisfying conclusion.

You will return to the book repeatedly to see what you missed the last time. Take care to see what the cover and endpapers have to offer. You will not be disappointed.

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