cover image The Silver Button

The Silver Button

Bob Graham. Candlewick, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-6437-4

In this quiet, thought-provoking picture book, Graham (A Bus Called Heaven) marvels at the myriad things that transpire in a moment’s time. At 9:59 one Thursday morning, Jodie is about to put the finishing touch on her drawing of a duck when her younger brother, Jonathan, pushes himself up and takes his first step. The scene moves to the kitchen where the children’s mother plays the pennywhistle, a bit sadly. From there, the same point in time is observed outside, next door, and across the city, as “an early-morning jogger puff[s] on by,” a soldier bids goodbye to his mother, a baby is born, an old woman “push[es] everything she owned in her cart,” and a tanker heads to China. Graham deftly depicts an array of perspectives in his signature ink-and-watercolor artwork, from a close-up portrait of Jonathan teetering toward the family dog to a view of the city skyline as seen by the seals in the bay. The understated sentences gently encapsulate moments that are mundane, melancholy, and joyful, encouraging readers to ponder all that might be happening in the world at any given instant. Ages 4–6. (Oct.)