Friday, February 3, 2023

Picture Book Friday


“The world is full of little hearts. Each one a sign of love. Some are found upon the ground. Some are up above.”

This opening stanza from LITTLE HEARTS by Charles Ghigna sets forth the gentle tone and thoughtful mood for the delightful story that follows four adorable animal friends in their exploration of nature. A map on the end paper at the back of the book conveniently maps their day-long trek through varied environments from Sand Bay to Clover Corner.

The rhyming stanzas invite readers to join the young adventurers as they attempt to find and identify as many hearts as possible. And the opportunities are many—from Redbud Hill to Emma’s orchard, Blue Hills to Swan Lake and a myriad of localities in between. 

The pastel water color illustrations by Jacqueline East are an inspired reflection of the text. Some of the hearts are clearly evident like the seashells or clouds—perfect for very young observers to find. Others are subtle—a heart created out the paired images of a rock and its reflection in a puddle or the tiny wings of bees—to encourage readers to take their time and truly see all the varied elements on the page. East’s imaginative eye for shapes found in the variety of nature’s offerings will have readers discovering new depths with each reading.

The lilting rhythm and melodic voice of LITTLE HEARTS makes for easy listening and enhances its appeal as a read aloud story for youngsters from 3-6.

I can easily imagine a story time followed by a nature walk where the listeners are encouraged to indulge their curiosity, discover their own “little hearts” and learn to marvel at the amazing natural world that surrounds us.

As an educator, I can envision a simple map that we follow and then mark with our various “discoveries” at the end of our journey.

Highly Recommended for home and school libraries.

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