Holiday House, 2019. Hardcover Picture book, 34 pp
The aptly named Grace sits down after her birthday party to write thank you notes for her gifts. She continues on to write letters for her family and community members. Note writing proves not only infectious for Grace, but for the recipients of her letters. There is a lovely surprise awaiting Grace at the end.
We all will appreciate the message of gratitude here, but I’m grateful for Cabrera’s sense of humor and her ability to avoid anything cloying. Cabrera will inspire because Grace translates a sincerity in her endeavors and looks like she’s having fun—the illustrations help with the fun part. Cabrera’s work is bright and as charming as ever. I love how much dimension she brings using color and shadow and those lines… And Grace’s hair!
I also appreciate how the first thing in the story we see Grace writing is a wish-list for her birthday. It is entertaining to see (in the thank you letters) how these wishes are (re)interpreted. Grace is no less shy in her request as she is in her thank-you. It isn’t an either-or scenario. It is both good to have wants and be grateful for what good things you receive—whatever form the gift takes.
It’s as much a story about expectations (what we are looking for) as it is about perspective (how we are going to receive), a nice departure from the usual “Give Thanks” (take what you are given and just be happy about it) book. The Thank You Letter is funny and full of kindness, sure to both entertain and inspire–a good one to have on the shelf.
Jane Cabrera is the author and illustrator of many beloved books for young children. She is best known for her exuberant versions of classic nursery rhymes and her bright, kid-friendly paint and collage illustrations. Publishers Weekly has said “her style exudes the joy of creation.”