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*The Secret Plan* by Julia Sarcone-Roach
The Secret Plan
by Julia Sarcone-Roach
Ages 2-7 32 pages Knopf October 2009 Hardcover    

Julia Sarcone-Roach captures the essence of a creative child’s greatest problem: having to stop what you are doing to follow a parent’s directions.

Milo, a baby elephant, and his best friends and neighbors Henry, Harriet and Hildy (all cats) thoroughly enjoy having fun together – digging in the dirt, imagining a trip to the moon, building a house of cards, playing hide-and-seek, etc. Unfortunately, their parents always interrupt their play for meals, and worst of all – BEDTIME!

So the friends devise various (albeit unsuccessful) plans to hide from their parents so bedtime does not have to disrupt their fun. Finally, Hildy devises a secret plan involving pretending to go to sleep then sneaking up to the attic, where they can play all they want with their parents never knowing.

Rich acrylic paintings illustrate The Secret Plan with varied layouts – two-page spreads, split pages with different scenes, and a panorama of the entire house showing different activities in each room. The animal parents speak through speech bubbles, while the story of the children is told within the text of the story.

The vibrant colors and detail within each picture invite brief pauses when reading to an individual child – a chance to wonder, predict and notice details as well as to make connections to everyday life. Highly recommended.

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  Kristine Wildner/2010 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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