Open House for Butterflies is one of my ultimate favorite picture books. Written by Ruth Kraus and illustrated by Maurice Sendak, this small format book is perfect for gift giving. Like another book by the same duo, A Hole is to Dig, this book is not a narrative, but a book of sweet and simple observances. With delicate black and white spot illustrations accompanying the text, you learn about the “good things” in life (long before Martha Stewart claimed this term, mind you) from a child’s perspective. “A good thing to think about is what kind of face to make when you say please.” As everyone knows, how your face looks and how you say please can very make or break the negotiations when you’re trying to get something you want.
The language is delightfully odd and pitch perfect to how young children often think and speak. “A baby is so you could be the boss.” The book is filled with terrific advice and silly definitions for both young and old and it still makes me smile whenever I revisit it (which is a lot!). I love to give this book as an unexpected gift, especially to someone who might need a little cheering up. “Everybody should be quiet near a little stream and listen.”
But the page I’ve been thinking about lately?
“A good way to tell it’s snowing is when everybody runs outside and throws their hats in the air.”
Hooray! It’s snowing! That’s how I’ve been feeling lately…
How about you? Do you have a favorite sweet book you love to give as a gift?