Silver buttons by Bob Graham

cover image

Walker Books, 2013. ISBN 9781406342246.
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Picture book. Life. A young girl, Jodie, squats on the floor, drawing a duck. At 9.59 she has drawn two buttons on the duck's boots and is about to draw the third. In that moment, an array of things happen in her house, her street, her neighbourhood and her city.
Her baby brother, Jonathan takes his first step, a jogger puffs by with her pram, a bag lady shoves her belongings before her in the street, a man buys some bread at the bakery, a baby is born in the hospital, a soldier bids farewell to his mother, children play in the fountain: every small incident adding substance to life in a city. And in the end, the tanker travels across the sea to China, embracing the whole world in this wonderful book.
With each page the perspective draws away from the house where the two children live, showing us the street, the suburb, the town, city and wider world, in so doing Graham is showing that we all have a place in this world and we are very much a part of it. In the time it takes for Jodie to draw the button, many things happen to people around her.
The details Graham includes in his illustrations are endless, their variety exciting and enticing, each having a significance to the people to whom they belong, and will invite the reader, whatever their age, to seek and ponder, to compare and wonder.
Bob Graham's books are filled with the wonder of humanity, and in reflecting the world in such a positive way seduces us all into believing the best.
Fran Knight