Remember the 1998 movie, Sliding Doors, starring Gwyneth Paltrow? Based on the premise that lives can change in a single moment, the film showed parallel universes of the characters and how their lives changed based on a seemingly inconsequential action.
Bob Graham’s incredible new book, Silver Buttons, is like Sliding Doors for kids but without the burden of destiny-altering decisions.
“At 9.59 on Thursday morning, Jodie drew a duck. Top hat, cane and boots of the softest leather. On the boots she put silver buttons: one… two… Her pen hovered in the air for the final button.
Jodie’s brother Jonathan pushed slowly to his feet. He swayed, he frowned, he tilted forward… and took his first step.”
At this exact same moment, a boy avoids cracks in the footpath, a soldier says goodbye to his mum, a man buys bread, phones ring in offices and pockets, and a baby is born.
In his signature style, Graham stretches kids’ minds beyond their own moment in time and shows all that is happening in the world. For the most part, the individual ‘moments’ are gentle – shoelaces being tied or playing in the autumn leaves. However Graham also deftly ties in examples that demonstrate the significant and the seemingly insignificant, the fortunate and the less fortunate. For example, a drawing of a bird and a homeless person is accompanied by –
“On the edge of the path, a blackbird found a worm… And an old lady carried everything she had in two paper bags.”
The triumph is in the illustrations. The pages alternate between drawings of the ‘moments’ and double-page spreads of Jodie’s house, streetscapes and finally a bird’s eye view of the city. Look closely at each one and you’ll spot all the details that Graham has described in the text – an incredibly clever way to get kids thinking about the bigger picture.
Buy this book for its simple messages about mindfulness and diversity. It’s suitable for children aged three years and over.
Find Silver Buttons online at Book Depository or in book stores.