Silver Buttons by Bob Graham,, hardback picture book, published by Walker Books in 2013.
Jodie is drawing a picture of a duck, in top hat with a cane and silver buttons on his boots. She is just about to draw the second button when her brother takes his first step, an ambulance goes past, phones ring everywhere, children sail boats in the fountain and a baby is born. As her brother tumbles to the ground, Jodie finishes her picture, only a minute has past, but so much has happened.
It’s just a short moment, but many things are occurring, in Jodie’s house, in her neighbourhood and right across the city. For Jodie, her brother taking his first step is a very important moment, but outside and elsewhere, important and not so important things are happening to other people and animals too. Things that we don’t think about much, unless we are the person experiencing them. This is a thought provoking book that can open a new world to children as they contemplate life outside of themselves.
Bob Graham’s distinctive illustrations are beautiful and full of life. We like to study the pictures to see what we can find, and these illustrations gave us plenty to look at. My preschooler spied the jogger in many of the pictures, and this helped her to understand that all of these pictures were happening simultaneously.
Both my second grader and preschooler enjoyed Silver Buttons, and I enjoyed reading it with them. It is a very good picture book for preschoolers and children in lower primary school, though I think some older children would also enjoy this book. As a parent, I was able to use this story to get my kids thinking and talking about things that are happening outside of their own small sphere. It was an interesting conversation! Silver Buttons has already been requested for a re-read, and is sure to read many times in our home.
* Silver buttons was an honours book for the 2014 Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year in the Picture Book category.