Caryl Hart (text) & Emily Hamilton (artwork)
(Bloomsbury Children’s Books)
“Whenever I am feeling sad
or life feels hard or wrong or bad,
I focus for a little while
on little things that make me smile…“
When my children were little, reading Caryl Hart’s rhyming texts was a regular and joyful occurrence in our house. Doing rhyming properly in a picturebook is hard and Caryl Hart is one of the few UK based picturebook writers that does it right. Rhyming texts really help the audience become engaged in the narrative straight away. This is further enabled in Thank You for Little Things by the first person narrative. We never do find out the name or gender of the protagonist, creating a universal experience as a result. They could be any of the little readers, indeed any of us. This is particularly important because of the focus of this book: acknowledging every-day worries. This is something we can all relate to, and it is most definitely something a lot of young readers will recognise. Readers are encouraged to pause, take stock and focus on the little things that bring them joy, taking time to stop and appreciate what is around them. This is such a gentle, reassuring tale about focusing on positive things, however small they might be.
Emily Hamilton’s artwork accompanies the text wonderfully to create a lovely atmosphere and help carry the message. Below are some of my favourite spreads.
The title page sets the scene wonderfully – the overwhelming grey representing worries with people as little bursts of colour (including the protagonist and their family looking out of the window), carrying their happiness and empathy with them:
The first double-spread builds on the title page – the grey of the city is still in the background, but in the foreground you see the park, full of colour, with the main character and their family walking through. The colour choices signals to readers that the park is one of their happy places:
There are several instances where the main character is framed within the things that make them happy; the daisy chain they have made, the chair they sit in with their mum to read a story, and this particular favourite of mine, where they are framed within the puddle, their reflection looking back at them, smiling. The framing throughout really works well as a metaphor for those little bubbles of happiness the main character feels:
The visual representation of “feeling happy” can be found throughout the book and is repeated as the endpapers. This frames the narrative and encourages little readers to notice it in the other spreads.
What I’m thankful for:
My dog welcoming me home after I’ve been at work all day!
Thank You for the Little Things is out now. It can be purchased from your local bookshop or online from our partner bookshop Storytellers Inc.:
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Source: review copy provided by publisher