Sonderbooks Book Review of

Baby Wren and the Great Gift

by Sally Lloyd-Jones

illustrated by Jen Corace

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Baby Wren and the Great Gift

by Sally Lloyd-Jones
illustrated by Jen Corace

Review posted August 12, 2016.
Zonderkidz, 2016. 32 pages.
Starred Review

This book charmed me when I didn’t expect to be charmed. The message is one I’ve heard many times: Be thankful for who you are, and you have your own unique gift to give the world.

The lilting language and unusual setting made the message ring clear.

Here’s how the book begins:

In the narrow crevice
of a giant rock face
in a great wide canyon
a baby inside her tiny nest
peeped out.

The baby was little
and brown
and a wren.

And she watched in the air
from her nest in the sky.

And the world was filled with such wonderfulness.
Monarchs in the milkweed.
Breezes in the switch grass.
And a glittering river that ran on.

The baby wren sees other animals doing wonderful things. A kingfisher dives to catch a fish. Ring-tailed cats cartwheel up the rocky face of the cliff. Sunfish swim and splash. Eagles fly above a storm.

Between each animal, the wren wishes she could do what they do, but we also are reminded of the monarchs in the milkweed, the breezes in the switch grass, and the glittering river running on.

Finally, after a storm, the sun paints the whole canyon pink.

And what she saw couldn’t fit inside her
it bumped into her heart
it dazzled in her eyes
it pushed on her throat
the tiny trembling bird
with all her tiny might
by herself
a song.

We hear the song, being thankful for all of the wonderful things that have come through – and even the eagles think it is wonderful.

The book ends with a lovely summing-up refrain:

And the kingfisher dived
and the ring-tailed cats climbed
and the sunfish splashed
and the eagles soared

and a little wren filled the air with singing.

And the glittering river ran on.

I also notice this book because my church is planning to open a preschool in about a year, and this book would be a wonderful choice.

The closest it gets to mentioning God is that the wren’s song ends with the words, “Thank you!” The book is published by ZonderKidz, a Christian publishing company, but there’s no reason people of other faiths wouldn’t enjoy it, and I think it would make a nice selection for storytime at the public library as well.

Because giving thanks and appreciating beauty and learning about unusual animals and realizing that even small ones may have great gifts to offer – are all things that are good for anyone to think about.