It’s a given in most of my kids’ story books: Other than the demise of a wicked witch or two, the main characters are going to live until the end of the story. But, I just discovered a timeless, beautiful tale about life–and, yes, its end–that flips the category on its head.
If you have a thing for great picture books, you are going to want to have this for your collection.
The Gift by Carol Ann Duffy may not be the kind of story you read to your kids before you flick out the lights, but it’s great for opening the dialogue about the passing of time and the simple beauty of life. Like one of my favorites, The Giving Tree, The Gift follows a child beginning with her carefree days of youth and, similarly, has the child returning to a place in nature throughout her life—here, a clearing in a meadow. However, unlike Shel Silverstein’s story, the little girl takes nothing from her special spot but artistic insipiration for her paintings, so you won’t be faced with those same gnawing images of a sad little tree stump.
In fact, it’s Rob Ryan’s painstakingly precise papercut images—oh the images!—which elevate The Gift to a book I want to hang onto for my grandchildren.
I’d agree with the recommended age of 8+, as it was my ten year-old who
was most interested in talk-talk-talking when the last page was
With its cobblestone streets and short clustered buildings and its calm, matter-of-fact prose, I felt like I was reading an old fable that’s been told for ages. Hopefully, that’s what this will become. –Christina
Congratulations to Cori N. and Homa W. for winning a copy of The Gift!