The Silver Button
Silver Button
Bob Graham
ISBN 9780763664374
Candlewick, 2013.
5 stars
Keywords: bob-graham community family siblings silver-button

The Silver Button
by Bob Graham

Bob Graham (A Bus Called Heaven) endows a baby's milestone with all the reverence it deserves in this outstanding picture book.

At 9:59 on a Thursday morning, young Jodie's pen hovers over the final button on the boot of the duck in her drawing, and her baby brother Jonathan "pushed slowly to his feet." Jonathan sways and tilts. Readers see him in a close-up view, focused on the family dog and Jodie's drawing as he takes his first step: "He took that step like he was going somewhere." Graham pulls back to a view of Jonathan's mother playing a pipe in the kitchen. The clock still shows 9:59 as, in the living room, Jonathan's left foot remains airborne. Graham pulls back farther still. A gull's eye–view reveals the public gardens and Jodie's block. "Sunlight hit the windows of the city and phones rang in a thousand offices and pockets." These lives so close by know nothing of Jonathan's breakthrough. Jodie is his witness: "Then down came Jonathan on his little pink knees." She tells her mother, "Jonathan's just taken his first step," as she draws that last silver button. As their mother holds Jonathan and this momentous event sinks in, the dog scratches, and "the kitchen clock struck ten."

All of the meticulous details of this warm household fall away to focus on this one life-changing minute. Graham simultaneously illustrates how each life is the sum of these fleeting moments, and how important it is to pay attention so as not to miss them. Bravo!

This review first appeared in
Shelf Awareness.
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