Friday, 4 April 2014

Shh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton

In case you haven't heard, Chris Haughton has a new book out ... and it's good. Shh! We Have a Plan follows his other titles with its trademark illustration style and layers of saturated color. It's a bundle of storytelling magic packaged in just under a hundred words.  Oh, to have his talent!

Shh! We Have a Plan tells the story of four characters traipsing through the wilderness on a harmless hunt to capture a bird. The three biggest ones set out with nets and an elaborate plan to catch the bird unaware.  The littlest one, oblivious to any scheming, keeps calling 'hello birdy' each time they spot it in the trees. The other three 'shush' him loudly but alas, the bird remains elusive. Finally, the littlest one holds out his hand and offers some bread crumbs.  One by one he's joined by a flock of birds until the pages are awash with colour.  His companions can't believe their eyes and attempt to capture another bird but are forced to retreat; dragging their littlest friend with them.  Then they spot a squirrel.  What will happen next?

E howled with laughter each time the group failed to catch the bird and instead ended up stuck in a clumsy heap, the river or falling out of a tree.  We read it three times at breakfast yesterday and by bedtime he was trading lines with his Papa, both of them 'shushing' in unison.  This morning he insisted on 'reading' it himself and took us both by surprise as he recited the words and 'shushed' accordingly with a sneaky little smile on his face. We then had a chat about how the bird was scared of the nets but not the littlest one with the bread crumbs.  It turned into a whole lesson on how we treat creatures.  I was slightly taken aback as it was just past eight in the morning but that's the beauty of a successful picture book.

E later asked me if this was a book we could keep forever  (thus differentiating it from a library book).  I assured him that yes, Chris Haughton's books are definitely ones we keep forever.

And if the book is not enough check out Chris Haughton's website for free printable activity sheets and short videos about how he made the book.