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*The Present* by Bob Gill
The Present
by Bob Gill
Grades PreK-2/td> 36 pages Chronicle September 2010 Hardcover    

This surprising and heartwarming story delves in to the imagination of a little boy named Arthur, who discovers a package “wrapped up in shiny paper with stars on it and tied with a bright red ribbon” on the shelf of his parents’ closet. He begins to wonder about all the things it might (or might not) be, who gave it to him, and all the things he will do with the gift:
“If the present were from Uncle Tom, it would be gloves. He gives gloves every year. Arthur always wanted a kite. Maybe the present was a kite.”
Some of the lines also show humor behind a child’s thinking:
“He wondered if it was a fish bowl with a fish swimming around. No, it couldn’t be a fish bowl: A fish wouldn’t keep.”
The story creates a sense of anticipation and logic with a nice message about sharing. The pages of this square book show bold illustrations either in monochromatic tones with a splash of color or brightly colored images outlined in bold black lines. Except for the first page, most pages feature only two or three sentences of text, with the illustration taking up the rest of the page.

The Present is an imaginative glimpse into a young boy’s imagination, with a lesson on generosity in the conclusion. Recommended for ages 2 and up. Five stars.

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