the thank you book

Tuesday, November 15, 2022 |

I’m always on the lookout for standout picture books – gifting “good ones” is a point of pride for me (hey, if you can’t be proud of your book taste, what is the point?). A couple of years ago a sweet and gorgeously illustrated picture book about why we say “thank you” debuted: Mary Lyn Ray’s The Thank You Book, illustrated by Stephanie Graegin. At the time, I wrote a couple of words about it in my journal. I’m sharing that short review today, during this season of thanksgiving.

the thank you book by mary lyn ray, illustrated by stephanie graegin cover
Perfect for fans of Margaret Wise Brown and Deborah Underwood's The Quiet BookThe Thank You Book explores the many ways of being thankful that can fill a child's day. Timely, wise, and accessible, the poetic text and tender illustrations celebrate the powerful impact gratitude can have on our lives.

Thank you isn't just for learning manners.
It's also for when something wakes a
little huma little happy huminside you
and you want to answer back.

The Thank You Book explores the many ways we can be thankful for the pleasures great and small that await us every day. Tender and poetic, it reflects on the role gratitude can play in our lives and celebrates the powerful impact it can have on us.

The Thank You Book explores themes of gratefulness, not just during November, but year-round as well. It also extolls seeing the wonder and good in every small moment and thing, and would be ideal for curious young ones, perhaps paired with Tiny, Perfect Things. Ray’s prose is lyrical, rhymes once or twice, and is meant most of all to evoke feeling (and it does!).


Beyond the words on the page, Graegin’s pencil and watercolor art is the focus throughout: it is very whimsical, colorful, and is meant to be pored over multiple times. On some pages the illustrations are framed in a circle, sometimes full spreads, and then there are free-floating illustrations: the variety is endearing. The book’s “characters” are a mix of animal and human, with diverse skin colors. I can’t label it anything other than adorable.


The small format of the picture book version is comfortable for small as well as large hands, and the pretty cover is sure to make it a favorite. The text is a good size for one-on-one reading, but not as ideal for storytimes. I personally loved the title page, which looked like it was straight out of one of my bookstagram photos. This title is available in multiple formats: picture book, padded board book, and just this fall as a bilingual board book.


In all, The Thank You Book is exactly what the title describes: a book about saying “thank you” – but also learning why we do that, and appreciating the world and people around us. It’s perfect for year-round reading, but perhaps especially in November, as we celebrate Thanksgiving.


Recommended for: little ones ages 2-5 and their adults, and fans of adorable, personified animal art.

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