Shh! We Have a Plan

by Chris Haughton (Author) Chris Haughton (Illustrator)

Shh! We Have a Plan
Reading Level: K − 1st Grade
From the creator of Little Owl Lost and Oh No, George! comes a funny, strikingly illustrated story of best-laid plans -- and the secret to attracting the birdie.

Four friends creep through the woods, and what do they spot? An exquisite bird high in a tree! "Hello birdie," waves one. "Shh! We have a plan," hush the others. They stealthily make their advance, nets in the air. Ready one, ready two, ready three, and go! But as one comically foiled plan follows another, it soon becomes clear that their quiet, observant companion, hand outstretched, has a far better idea. Award-winning author-illustrator Chris Haughton is back with another simple, satisfying story whose visual humor plays out in boldly graphic, vibrantly colorful illustrations.


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Publishers Weekly

Three hunters with nets trudge through a deep forest of violets and blues, their wide eyes unblinking in the gloom. They're comically small and troll-like, and they're trailed by a fourth companion who's even stumpier. The hunters spot an exquisite scarlet bird. "Hello, birdie," says the smallest hunter, prompting hushes from his companions, who tell him, "We have a plan." The three hunters tiptoe forward, nets ready, but fall over each other like the Keystone Kops when they pounce. The bird sails off, undisturbed, and the pattern of greeting, hushing, and pouncing repeats with equally slapstick results. Big, blocky shapes and intense hues make the action simple to follow, and Haughton's (Oh No, George!) text is similarly telegraphic. Eventually, the bird flies toward the littlest hunter after being offered a bit of bread, a flock of phantasmagorically colored birds gathers, and the hunters get their comeuppance. The delicious stupidity of the hunting trio, the purity of heart of their small companion, and the sweet-tempered drama of each page turn make this a classic exercise in picture-book making. Ages 3-7. (Sept.)

Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Starred Review

PreS-Gr 2--In a gorgeous nocturnal landscape of deep purples and blues, four figures go marching along. The three big ones are holding nets, and the little one trails slightly behind. Suddenly, they spy a bright pink bird in the tree. "Hello, birdie," calls the little one. "Shh," reprimands the first one. "SHH!" hisses the next. "We have a plan," explains the third, holding up a birdcage. They tiptoe towards the bird with hilariously expressive body language until, "ready one...ready two...ready three...GO!" But the bird easily evades them, and the three end up in a tangle while the little one looks on. The scenario and "shhs" repeat, and finally, while the big ones are literally down the creek without a paddle, the little one makes friends. In a breathtakingly rich spread, a flock of colorful, jewel-toned birds appear and drive the schemers into retreat. Echoing the opening, the big ones quick-step along under the moonlit sky, nervously glancing behind them and dragging the little one along. The story seems over, but they haven't quite learned their lesson yet. A masterful delight, this crafty caper has huge kid appeal and a title/refrain that will easily sneak into the family lexicon: shh! We have a plan. This perfect blend of circular narrative, deceptively spare art, and humor becomes a story that kids will want to read at storytime, at home, and to themselves if no adult is handy. Plan to make this title a first purchase.--Anna Haase Krueger, Ramsey County Library, MN

Copyright 2014 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

In a gorgeous nocturnal landscape of deep purples and blues, four figures go marching along. ... They tiptoe towards the bird with hilariously expressive body language... In a breathtakingly rich spread, a flock of colorful, jewel-toned birds appear and drive the schemers into retreat. ... A masterful delight, this crafty caper has huge kid appeal and a title/refrain that will easily sneak into the family lexicon: shh! We have a plan. This perfect blend of circular narrative, deceptively spare art, and humor becomes a story that kids will want to read at storytime, at home, and to themselves if no adult is handy.
—School Library Journal (starred review)

There's a bouncy staccato music in the carefully structured text, and listeners will quickly anticipate the patterns and helpfully join in on the repetitions as they root for the little guy who knows better than the big fools. Haugen's art is original yet easily legible... The temptation to act this out will be almost irresistible, so channel the impulse into an organized (or even semi-organized) performance.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)

With cover art recalling Ungerer's The Three Robbers and the wry sensibility of Klassen's Hat books, this is a natural choice for any storytime. A spare, humorous text pairs with blocky, digital illustrations to tell the story... Plan on repeated readings.
—Horn Book (starred review)

Big, blocky shapes and intense hues make the action simple to follow, and Haughton's text is similarly telegraphic. ... The delicious stupidity of the hunting trio, the purity of heart of their small companion, and the sweet-tempered drama of each page turn make this a classic exercise in picture-book making.
—Publishers Weekly

Haughton's stylish digital illustrations in chunky patches of color make masterful use of hue and contrast—the jazzy warm-toned birds are vibrant when set against the crepuscular blues of the friends and the woods. With only a few words total, a repeated refrain, and a visually unmistakable plot, this is a great choice for emergent readers or a group storytime.
—Booklist Online

A peace-waging parable, presented with wry minimalism à la Jon Klassen or Tomi Ungerer. ... Haughton uses a palette of deep blues and purples for his simple forest scenes; this causes the hunters' googly eyes to stand out comically and also makes the fuchsia, red and orange birds easy to spot and follow. Last seen creeping up on a squirrel, the hunters have plainly learned nothing from their experience...but young readers might. Sure to "net" young audiences, who will definitely root for the birds.
—Kirkus Reviews

It's one of the best picture books of the year.
—Travis Jonker, 100 Scope Notes

This slapstick adventure (rendered in brilliantly saturated colors) demonstrates that if the best laid plans often go awry, then poorly laid plans don't stand a chance.
—Huffington Post

Many young readers will enjoy the story for its humorous elements while others will nod gently, recognizing its life lessons about the impact of force versus gentleness. The repetitive use of cautionary "Shh"s hissed at the youngster as the gang tries to execute its plans and the moody digital illustrations are bound to make readers feel as though they are moving stealthily through the night.
—Reading Today Online

Chris Haughton tells a simple story with illustrations that are reminiscent of Eric Carle.... With few words on each page and a repetitive pattern, young readers will delight in this engaging story.
—Library Media Connection

Delightfully vibrant.
—BuzzFeed

Chris Haughton
Chris Haughton is the creator of Little Owl Lost and Oh No, George! He has taught many courses in design and illustration around the world. In 2007, he was named one of Time Magazine's DESIGN 100 for his work for Fair Trade and People Tree, and in 2011 he was named one of Booktrust's Best New Illustrators. Originally from Dublin, Chris Haughton now lives in London.
Classification
Fiction
ISBN-13
9780763672935
Lexile Measure
-
Guided Reading Level
0
Publication date
September 20, 2014
Series
-
Cybils
Winner 2014 - 2014
Ezra Jack Keats Book Award
Winner 2015 - 2015
Parents Choice Awards (Spring) (2008-Up)
Silver Medal Winner 2015 - 2015
Red Clover Award
Nominee 2016 - 2016
Irma S. & James H. Black Award
Honor Book 2015 - 2015

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