Prather’s Pick: Ray, Graegin offer picture book to say, “thank you” | CraigDailyPress.com

Prather’s Pick: Ray, Graegin offer picture book to say, “thank you”

Diane Prather/For Craig Press

Not long ago, I watched a toddler, who was about a year and a half old, as she picked up a small book, sat on the floor, put the book on her lap, and proceeded turning the pages. She babbled toddler words, a language only she understood, telling a story. It didn't matter that the book was upside down. What mattered was that she understood there were words and pictures on the pages, and they told a story.

Experts know that when parents share books with young children and when the children handle books, even chewing on them, the activities are setting up the brain for reading later on.

Learning to read is a powerful skill. It allows us to explore different views about life, it allows us to feel, it teaches life lessons, it provides access to the world around us — and so much more. So what would we do without a library where people of all ages — beginning with toddlers — can explore books and pack home an armload of them to be savored during the following days?

What would we do without a museum to find out about our past and what was learned along the way? That's what Moffat County Referred Measure IA is all about — funding the Moffat County Libraries and the Museum of Northwest Colorado.

I'm voting "yes."

This week's picture book for children is a "feeling good" book and helps readers think about the positives in life. "The Thank You Book" was written by Mary Lyn Ray and illustrated by Stephanie Graegin.

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The beautiful illustrations were done in pencil and watercolor, then assembled and colored digitally. The characters in the book are a mixture of animals and humans that interact in all of the pictured activities. The book begins with a boy and a cat as they stand, hand-in-hand, looking out onto a beautiful landscape.

The narrator explains that "thank you" isn't just for learning manners; it "wakes" up a little hum inside us. For example, there's a new day. A skunk and hedgehog stand by the window feeling happy for the morning. They're also thankful for the cups and plates as they eat breakfast.

What a gorgeous scene, as children and a dog and cat enjoy the grass and flowers and wonder at a goose, dressed in a shirt and hat; her goslings; some caterpillars; and a turtle. Again, it is a "thank you" time.

There are lots of examples of things to be thankful for in the book. After sharing the book with children, you might ask them to draw and color things they're thankful for. It's a great book for Thanksgiving, too.

Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2018), the book costs $13.99 in hardcover. You can also find it in the children's room at the Craig branch of Moffat County Libraries.