Picture Book Snob
Ten things we love about Thank You for the Little Things...
...as we join the Gratitude Tour for this gorgeous book
We're thrilled to be joining the Gratitude Tour for Thank You for the Little Things by Caryl Hart and Emily Hamilton (Bloomsbury). This beautifully illustrated picture book is a gentle and uplifting celebration of all the tiny things that bring us joy, and which we often take for granted. If it was possible for a book to be the equivalent of a hug, it's this one! Here are ten things we love about it: 1. The cosy feeling you get while reading it
It's almost as though this book wraps itself around the reader and holds them in a warm embrace for the duration of the story.
2. Its ability to raise the spirits
Every time I've read this, I've felt happier afterwards.
3. It's perfect for winding down at bedtime Not only does the text read like a lullaby, but it's also ideal for encouraging children to reflect on their day and acknowledge what they enjoyed about it. 4. The comfort that can be derived from it
Thank You for the Little Things provides immediate solace and demonstrates how long-term comfort can be derived from small, everyday items and activities. By showing how, 'these little things just have a way of cheering up a tricky day,' this book has the ability to soothe children even when they're not reading it.
5. It teaches children a skill that will benefit them their entire lives
Whenever we are 'feeling sad or life feels wrong or hard or bad' we can try focusing on the little things that make us smile, just like the narrator of the story. It's never too early to learn a technique which can help us all feel better, whether we're a grown-up or a kid. It's fantastic to have a book that's suitable for even the very young which can help them to overcome their anxieties, especially in the context of the last two years.
6. The language is so lyrical
Caryl's rhyming is as masterful as ever and this reads like a long poem. The ode to the ladybird is one of my favourite parts and I love how daisies are described: 'each flower like a tiny sun with petal rays around each one.'
7. It manages to be simple and powerful all at once
The concept is easy for the very young to relate to and understand, but at the same time, it's remarkably powerful. I've already mentioned the story's lasting effects and its lifelong benefits. It's also incredibly evocative, recalling sensory pleasures like the swoop of a swing, the squelch of mud, snuggly blankets, sticky ice cream, warm baths and the soft fur of teddy bears. The reader feels as though they are experiencing these as they turn each page.
8. It captures the essence of childhood
This book reminds me of Shirley Hughes and her extraordinary ability to see the world through a child's eyes and express it on the pages of a book. Caryl and Emily have achieved the same thing and Thank You for the Little Things is certain to become a classic.
9. It's diverse and gender-neutral
It's crucial to have diverse characters in fiction and films so that all readers can see themselves and their loved ones represented. This is something Caryl feels strongly about and has advocated for in her picture books, and the family in the story is mixed race. It's also wonderful how the narrator is not explicitly of any gender so that all children can identify with the main protagonist.
10. The illustrations Emily Hamilton is one of our favourite artists so I knew this would be stunning even before I saw it, but I still wasn't prepared for how spectacular it is. Every image looks like it has been hand-drawn and my kids have even been referring to the illustrations as 'drawings' rather than 'pictures', the term they typically use. I love how childlike the artwork is and how it perfectly suits the style and tone of the story. My kids and I love the sparkles, stars and hearts that emanate from 'the little things' and how these flood the final scene and even spill into the endpapers. We enjoy spotting the family in the park and details like the pigeons feasting on discarded food.
Emily uses a gorgeous palette in really interesting ways. The deep blue of the cover and the evening scenes is both striking and calming. I love how grey the buildings and the street on the title pages are, with pops of colour coming from people, pets, umbrellas and flowers, showing how they brighten up our lives. I love the open window in the title pages that provides a glimpse of the narrator and their family too. In the first scene, it's brilliant how the grey landscape transforms along the path the narrator takes as they begin to focus on 'the little things'.
It's difficult (and perhaps impossible) to find a picture book - or a book of any description - that conveys such warm and fuzzy feelings. This exquisite and moving celebration of the joy that everyday outings and activities can bring helps readers appreciate small comforts and develop resilience. Just like the 'little things' championed by the story itself, this book has an enormous capacity to bring solace and happiness.
Everyone on the blog tour has been asked to share something they are grateful for. In addition to feeling safe, which is really a big thing, I'm thankful for fresh walks to school on frosty mornings (like today).
I'm thankful for our fresh and frosty walk to school this morning
After we read this story, my kids and I like to reflect on the little things we're thankful for too. Here's what they said last night: Four-year-old: I'm thankful for pancakes and Paxo (our cat).
Six-year-old: I'm thankful for peanut butter.
We're also thankful for Caryl and Bloomsbury inviting us on this tour and for our gifted copy of Thank You for the Little Things. Don't forget to visit the other stops to learn more about this beautiful book (you can see them all below). I'll also be chatting to Caryl on Instagram at 6.15pm on Saturday 5th March, so please join us!
Thank You for the Little Things is written by Caryl Hart, illustrated by Emily Hamilton and published by Bloomsbury on 3rd March 2022 - see this book on the publisher's website