By Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Archie Preston. Zonderkidz, 2015. 32 pages. $16.99/hardcover; $6.75/paperback; $7.99/eBook. Recommended for ages 4–8.
I am thankful for this picture book by Eileen Spinelli with paintings by Archie Preston. Thankful shines a light on the everyday things that inspire gratitude. The story is a bouncing poetic rollick through imagination, play, and family. It is a journey of appreciation experienced by two children on a summer day. As we watch the children through autumn-colored illustrations, we are allowed to pause and be thankful. The children’s interactions with their home, parents, and each other are precious moments to be thankful for. The book inspires appreciation for many things: some very small, others imagined, but most importantly those done for us by others.
Of the many touching children’s books that Spinelli has written, Thankful is a standout with its simple yet endearing text. This is a picture book with simplicity and depth. Spinelli’s poetry offers a contrast to the softness of the watercolor domestic scenes of Preston. If the words and illustrations of Thankful were separated, it would produce two completely different books. Taken together, they offer an age-old lesson in gratitude: be thankful for the little things, which are the only things that matter. This is a wonderful book for any First-day school library.