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Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Silver Button, by Bob Graham. Candlewick Press, Random House. 2013. $19.00 ages 4 and up

a pigeon nested
under the roof.
As Jonathan took
his first step,
a feather floated
gently past the
window like an
autumn leaf."

ONE MINUTE! It takes only one minute for Bob Graham to inspire, enchant and show his readers and listeners how truly momentous that tiny slice of  time can be in our daily life. At 9:59 one morning, Jodie is about to put the final silver button on the duck's black boot in her newest artistic masterpiece.

She stops to think about her work. As she does this, her baby brother decides to take his first step. Their dog appears wary of Jonathan's lurching approach. As the two keep themselves busy in the living room, their mom is using her artistic talents to make Irish music on her pennywhistle. It is a quiet family scene. At the window we notice a woman in a bright blue headband passing by.

A turn of the page and we are outside the family's home, eager to take note of what is happening there. So many other important things are taking place. We are engaged participants in observation as the world widens and we become aware of the goings-on in the city, all in that same moment in time. It is a fascinating view of a multicultural community experiencing life's many joys and sorrows.

Bob Graham is a skilled artist and superb storyteller. That is again evident in this serene, and beautifully crafted book. The variation in the images that he presents will capture the attention of those who are reading. Those who listen to his lovely, lyrical text will want to take the time to pore over the many inspired details, and to talk about them. I find myself going back again and again to take note of just one more connection. It is never busy, but always engrossing. It is full to the brim of meaning, and moments that are rarely interpreted with such wonder.

Thank you, Bob Graham. This is pure delight!


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