Shh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton
On a recent rip to London where wandering through bookstores is a daily routine, I happened upon the new Chris Haughton. I just love his books! Like his other books, he uses color in such a different way. The cover of the new book, Shh! We Have a Plan drew my attention immediately. My suitcase was full to bursting and I thought, “I can’t get it home. Rats!” I figured it would come out in the US before long and, lo and behold, it arrived last week. It is so terrific and easily as good as his others.
The art is dichromatic, for the most part, as you can see in the image above. The first hint that the little guy is the protagonist is subtly shown in his eyes looking away. In the story, he is always doing something different from his buddies. The guys have a plan for capturing a bird. Our little guy just wants to say hi to the birdie but the big guys execute their wacky plan anyway. Except that it fails miserably leaving the reader to laugh at how silly their attempt was. They try again, again it fails. Even the youngest readers realize that maybe their plans are not as well thought out, or well-intentioned, as they could be. After three failed attempts, our little guy offers the bird some bread and before you know it, he is surrounded by birds of all colors and sizes. Of course, he has no interest in capturing the bird, he just wants to enjoy his time with them. The big guys see this but do they get it? Maybe not because soon thereafter they spot a squirrel. Uh-oh!
It should also be mentioned that the language is wonderful in the book. When the big guys are climbing up to get at the bird the repetition is lovely: “tiptoe slowly, tiptoe slowly, now stop. Shh!” The repetition allows kids to pick up sight words and chuckle as this hapless trio’s determination wreaks havoc again and again.
There’s a wonderful quote on the CIP page that really encapsulates the theme of this book:
“Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.” – Albert Einstein
Haughton’s other books include Oh, No, George…