cover image Thank You, Jackson: How One Little Boy Makes a Big Difference

Thank You, Jackson: How One Little Boy Makes a Big Difference

Niki and Jude Daly. Frances Lincoln/Otter-Barry (Quarto, dist.), $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-84780-484-6

The husband-and-wife Daly team (Seb and Hamish) presents a straightforward parable about the value of gratitude, starring a South African family of farmers. The farmer, his wife, and their son rely on their donkey, Jackson, to transport their produce on market day. One day, as the farmer and donkey trudge uphill, Jackson stops and refuses to move: “The poor animal had had enough of his thankless task, carrying heavy loads year after year uphill to the market.” At wit’s end, the farmer prepares to beat the donkey with a stick, and as he counts to 10 before hitting the animal (a process that stretches over several pages), the son, named Goodwill, races to stop his father. A whispered “thank you” from the boy is all it takes for Jackson to continue the journey. Outlined in soft pencil, Jude Daly’s warm, folkloric paintings reduce the story to its simplest elements while effectively conjuring a rural South African setting. The story would make a fine readaloud alongside other “man and donkey” tales from Aesop, Nasruddin, and others. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)