Thursday, April 5, 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: The Wonderful Happens

Author/Illustrator: Cynthia Rylant/Coco Dowley
Publisher/Date: Aladdin Paperbacks/ 2003
Genre/Audience: Fiction/Preschool and up

Themes: appreciating the little things; individuality

Opening: "Each day, the wonderful happens."

Synopsis: From Publishers Weekly: "Like the lyrics to The Sound of Music's "My Favorite Things," Rylant's picture-book list of what is wonderful in the world includes both raindrops and roses. The sweet, rhythmic text is both cheery and unabashedly sentimental."

Why I Love This Book From bread to birds, peaches to spider webs, the wonderful happens.  I love that phrase.  Rylant uses her brilliantly poetic language to uncover the ordinary and fill you with awe.  Especially when the phrasing shifts: "and then there's the most wonderful thing of all -- you!"  What a beautiful way to share the love for a child and their presence in the world by connecting them to all of the exquisite, natural wonders that came before.  (This post dedicated to my oldest, who turns three today!)

Student writing prompt: What other natural, wonderful things happen?  Use this book as a model for writing your own story.  (This could easily be turned into a seasonal activity or a reflection on a nature walk.)

For more links to Perfect Picture Books, a collection of bloggers who contribute at Susanna Leonard Hill’s site, click here.


  1. The wonderful does happen every day! Thanks for sharing this one, it sounds like an excellent starting point for discussions about appreciating and noticing the amazing every day world around us.

  2. What an important message and a book to inspire us to simply open our eyes today, now, to see the wonderful all around!

  3. Sounds sweet! I haven't seen it before, but will keep an eye out. Thank you for sharing this book with us.

  4. What a lovely sounding book and wonderful message! And how sweet that you chose it for your 3 year old's birthday! Happy Birthday :) and thanks for adding this to our list - we don't have enough of this kind of book :)

  5. I love the theme of this book -- seeing the beauty in all of life around us. Cynthia has been around a long time. I read a number of her books to my daughter in the early 90s, and recently reviewed two pet grief books by her. Would add this to my list. Great choice!

  6. I love Cynthia Rylant, but I haven't read this one. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Hi Laura, I was just thinking that it would also be a good exercise in gratitude for young children - to see the world and discover the wonderful, the divine, the glorious. Thanks for sharing this.

  8. Cynthia Rylant is great. I'll have to read this one.

  9. The title of the book is great!

  10. I love the title, too. Sounds wonderful :-)