Thursday, November 4, 2021

Review: Thankful by Elaine Vickers


by Elaine Vickers
Illustrated by Samantha Cotterill
Paula Wiseman Books
Picture Book
48 pages 
ages 4 to 8

Stunning, diorama illustrations bring to life this lullaby of a picture book about celebrating everyday things that make life wonderful.

I am thankful for a home where I am safe and warm.
Thankful for parents who read me stories and comb my hair gently, gently.
Who whisper the same poem every night when they tuck me in.

When the first snow falls, a little girl writes down the things she’s thankful for on strips of paper and links them together. As one idea leads to another, her chain grows longer. There’s so much good in her life: a friend, things that are warm, things that are cold, color, things that can be fixed. This beautiful story is a much-needed reminder to observe and honor life’s small joys.

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Stock up on the colored paper, glue and pens before reading this one because it leaves not only a thankful heart but inserts a bit of inspiration.

Every year at the first snow, a young girl joins her family in an annual tradition of writing down everything they are thankful for onto paper strips and looping them into a chain. The next day, one by one, they take a loop from each of their chains and read what the others are thankful for. This book follows the young girl as she fills in her chain links, gliding from one thankful thing to the next, until she finally falls asleep. 

While this is a perfect book with Thanksgiving only a few weeks away, it is also an inspiration the entire year through. As this little girl sits down and thinks of all the things she's thankful for, young listeners will begin to let their own thoughts work through the same question. The ideas this young girl comes up with are very familiar moments and things, which most readers will identify with...and maybe be surprised at what type of things a person can and should be thankful for. Her growing chain puts a smile on the face. The warm thoughts stay until she's put into bed and fall asleep, making this book also great as a bedtime story.

The illustrations are intriguing, not only because of the well done scenes and details, but the artist places the people on the page like cut-outs being glued into a scene. It adds a lovely, original twist, which catches the eye.

I can recommend this one and see it also great as the introduction to a classroom, group or family project. 

And here they are...

Elaine Vickers is the author of the middle grade novels Like Magic and Paper Chains, which have received starred reviews, Whitney Award nominations, Mighty Girl’s Book of the Year picks, PJ Library licenses, and sold translations in four languages. She is also the author of the forthcoming YA novel, Fadeaway, and picture book, Thankful. In her non-writing life, Elaine teaches college chemistry. She lives with her family in Utah.

Samantha Cotterill has written and illustrated many popular books for children, including the Little Senses series. The Wall Street Journal praised her “fabulously fun artwork” in Jinx and the Doom Fight Crime! by Lisa Mantchev and called it an “exuberant picture book.” She also illustrated Just Add Glitter by Angela DiTerlizzi, which The New York Times called “a sparkle of genius.” Samantha lives with her family in upstate New York. Learn more at 

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