Book: Shh! We Have A Plan
Author: Chris Haughton
Age Range: 3-7
I love Chris Haughton's books. Oh No, George! has become one of my four-year-old daughter's favorites. But his new one, Shh! We Have A Plan, is simply hilarious. Four little blue guys, in various sizes, are out in the woods. Three of them carry nets. They spot a red and purple bird (who stands out against the blue background and muted scenery). The littlest guy, the one without a net, tries to say hello to the bird, but the others shush him. Because they have "a plan." Then they try repeatedly to catch the bird, and fail every time. As astute readers will expect, it's the friendlier little guy who ends up with the best results.
Though the text is minimal, Shh! We Have A Plan is a joy to read aloud. The mostly small text simply cries out to be whispered, and the short, repeated phrases will be accessible to even the youngest of listeners. It goes like this:
"hello birdie (little guy)
shh (next guy, holding a net, finger to lips)
SHH! (next guy, also holding a net, eyes scrunched tight in frustration)
we have a plan. (fourth guy, holding a net and a cage)"
Then on the next page, the following text is shown above each of the three as they approach the bird, while the littles one watches from a distance:
Then when they try to actually get the bird, "GO!" is in bigger letters, for the young reader to shout out. And they end up tumbled in a pile, while the bird flies serenely away. I laughed out loud, and then laughed again at the pattern was repeated throughout the book.
The blue-skinned guys (they don't look quite human, but are clothed and clearly not animals) resemble the parent figure in Oh No, George!, with big eyes, long noses, and squat figures. Their tumbles are comical. The bird looks like something a kid might make out of cut and taped construction paper in bright colors (though more nimble than actual kids would be able to produce). Later pages include a variety of different-colored birds that I think may inspire preschoolers to do some drawing of their own.
Shh! We Have A Plan, with its muted colors and mostly whispered text, would make a wonderful bedtime book, though there is some risk of a late-evening attack of the giggles. There's a subtle message for readers about reaching out with kindness instead of stealth, but the three bigger guys never do learn this lesson (to continued giggles). Though perhaps a bit simple for first and second graders, Shh! We Have A Plan is perfect for the preschool and K set. Highly recommended!
Publisher: Candlewick Press (@Candlewick)
Publication Date: September 9, 2014
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. This site is an Amazon and iBooks affiliate, and purchases made through affiliate links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).