I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Chris Haughton in 2015 at a conference in Southern Mississippi where he was awarded the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award. I’m ashamed to admit that I think I was too starstruck by the other authors and illustrators in attendance (Peter Brown! Paul Zelinsky! Nikki Grimes!) to truly revel in meeting him. I can say, though, that I was smart enough to get Shh! We Have a Plan signed by him, and it’s honestly one of my pride and joys.
I have always loved this book. From the moment I picked it up, I knew it would always be in my repertoire. I think I put it into at least one story time a year, and whenever I think about it, it makes me giggle. Maybe an adult shouldn’t admit that, but it’s just that good. Plus, it easily translates to any age, and, depending on how long you have it, it will grow with your child. I bought a board book copy for my son so we can do just that.
As an example, here’s how this particular book can grow with your child:
Your infant will love the colors. It’s monochromatic with all its shades of blue, but then, POP! Here’s some brightness for your little one to focus on, especially in the early months. They will also love the repetitive nature and predictability of the story.
Your toddler will also love the colors and the repetitive nature. But, they’ll learn counting skills as you count to three, and they’ll pick up on the pacing of the story. It’s possible your child will be able to help you “read” the story by supplying some of the repetitive words because they can feel the rhythm of what will happen and by turning the pages. They’ll probably like the surprise towards the end, too!
Your preschooler will love and know everything I’ve already mentioned above and will now likely be able to read it to you on their own. If not completely, they’ll likely know when to say GO! and SHH! and LOOK! and STOP! and be able to count with you as well.
Your school age kiddo who is learning to read will love this book because it has a lot of sight words, which are words that are difficult to sound out and are best to have memorized so they can be recognized at a glance. If you have had this book since infancy, you will likely see your child’s eyes light up as they realize they can actually read the words they’ve been seeing and saying for years now. If you are experiencing the book for the first time, it is a great way to start the journey of reading on one’s own.
His other works are equally as wonderful! I highly encourage you to check out his books. You can’t go wrong with something that will last for years to come and will engage your child on a multitude of levels.