Review: Shh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton

shh we have a plan

Shh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton

The author of Little Owl Lost returns with another great picture book in his signature style.  In this book, four people head into the forest with nets at night.  There, they find a gorgeous red bird.  The littlest of them calls out “hello, birdie” but the others shush him and declare that they have a plan and show the cage they are holding.  They slowly tiptoe up to the bird, count off and jump!  But the bird flies up into a tree.  No worries, they have another plan.  And when that fails, another and another.  Finally, the smallest of them comes up with a plan that just might work, or maybe not.

This book is a stupendous read aloud.  The chipper, bright voice of the littlest of them, the hushed shushing from the others, the counting off and finally the shout of GO!  This happens again and again and will keep even the wiggliest of children paying close attention.  Even better, the little one is the one who figures things out and presents a solution.  Add at the end a wonderful twist to continue the story, and you have an outstanding picture book for sharing.

Haughton’s illustrations are created digitally but have the feel and texture of cut paper.  He uses beautifully deep blues throughout the nighttime story and then the bright red of the bird pops.  It also helps that the bird seems to live in its own beam of light, one that follows it as it escapes again and again.  It’s a clever use of stage lighting in a picture book.

A top pick for sharing aloud, this picture book is a dazzling dark delight.  Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from library copy.