Shh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton
I will be honest with you – I am in two minds about this book. At first I found the theme quite dark and maybe a bit too mature for my 4 year old (who also found the illustrations a bit creepy). However, I do also see a more goofy side to the book. All the other reviews that I have read online tend to agree the latter take on the book. Maybe I’ve just read a little too much into the storyline….
After having read Oh No George! by Haughton, I was a little surprised by this story. The illustrations are as fantastic and unique as Oh No George! but uses deeper shades of blue instead of bright oranges and reds. The shades of blue perfectly represent the sneaky, darker tones to the story. The first thing my daughter asked me when she saw the book was, “Mummy is this a scary story?”
No, the story is not scary. Where I feel that the story has some darker undertones is that it follows a crew of people dressed like “robbers” who are trying to capture a bird, squirrel, etc in the dark. It is only the little one who is able to encourage the birds (who ultimately turn on the group anyway) by giving them some feed. What may have led me to the more serious conclusions of this book is the Einstein quote that Haughton includes on the dedication page – “Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding”. A bit too deep for my pre-schooler I think.
On the other hand, this book could be read with a more slap-stick interpretation. You essentially have the three stooges who cannot execute a plan successfully. It takes the littlest one (who keeps being shh’d) to come up with a strategy that actually works.
The book has minimal text and lets the illustrations do most of the talking. This is part of the reason why there is a bit of a variance to the interpretation I had on this book.
While I do appreciate this book, I can’t say that it was a real hit in our household.
I’d love to hear from others who have read this book and enjoyed it more than we did. Maybe you have a different take or some other suggestions?