The Most Important Gift of All by David Conway, illustrated by Karin Littlewood.
Ama is a little girl who lives in Africa. She has a new little baby brother and decides that she needs to give him a gift. Her grandmother tells her that the most important gift she can giver her brother is love, so Ama sets off to find love. She asks the weaverbird, the giraffe, and finally an old lion who tells her that “as sure as the rain comes, you will always know love when you have found it.” Ama’s father finds her and returns her to the village where they celebrate the birth of her brother with a special meal and songs. And the rain comes.
This is a lovely picture book with richly colored paintings as illustrations. The depth of the night out under the baobob tree and the brightness of the following day are marvelous. The illustrations truly add another dimension to the book. The language of the writing is also rich and deep, creating a believable world where lions can give advice to small children and there is a certain safety to the wildness of the world.
Share this one with kindergarteners and first graders who may be welcoming their own new siblings. It reads aloud well, but is also a nice lap book to share.