At times I call 2013 “The Year of the U”, as I refer to my picks for the Newbery Medal: The Real Boy by Anne Ursu and The Center of Everything by Linda Urban. I’m getting kind of sick of living in a world where Urban and Ursu don’t have a least a Newbery honor. It just seems wrong. I digress. You could also very easily call 2013 “The Year of the Wordless Picture Book”. It doesn’t have the same ring to it, but 2013 sure has been an amazing year for books without words. After reading Hank Finds an Egg with my kids at least a dozen times last night I can confidently add it to the list of amazing wordless picture books of 2013.
First of all, I love that this bear(?), Hank has a name. Sometimes our favorite wordless picture book characters live forever without a name. I am also a big fan of …..shoot I just Googled “Hank Finds an Egg” turns out he a monkey. I’m a big fan of the illustrations Rebecca Dudley created for this book. I always find picture books illustrated by photography to be fascinating. Often, I cannot tell if the photo illustrations are any good, but I KNOW that the illustration in Hank Finds an Egg are dynamite.
Let’s recap: I love wordless picture books, the illustrations in this book are electric, and I love that Hank has a name. All that stuff is fine and dandy, but what I really love about this book is the message it sends to kids. We are constantly talking about kindness with our students. I often joke that if I could teach my students to be kind to each other and fall in love with reading that my year is successful. One of the things that makes Rebecca’s story so powerful to me is that Hank goes above and beyond for a stranger while nobody is watching. It is much easier to be kind when a teacher, a parent, a principal is watching. When our students learn that being kind is not something you do, it is something you are, we have done our jobs. Hank doesn’t just do something kind in Hank Finds an Egg. Hank IS kind. A very kind monkey.