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TEN BEAUTIFUL THINGS by Molly Beth Griffin


by Molly Beth Griffin ; illustrated by Maribel Lechuga

Pub Date: Jan. 12th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-58089-936-9
Publisher: Charlesbridge

The simple act of looking for beautiful things can help make life itself beautiful again.

Change isn’t easy, especially for a young girl named Lily who must move—without parents—from the city across Iowa to Gram’s farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. The reason for Lily’s move is not explained, but all her things are packed in Gram’s car for the daylong journey. When Gram first suggests finding “ten beautiful things along the way,” Lily sees “nothing beautiful.” But soon Lily gasps at the “very moment…the sun [breaks] over the long horizon.” Beautiful thing No. 1. Lechuga’s emotion-laden cameos of Lily in the back seat capture the child’s grief and anxiety, described as “complaints starting in her belly again, coming up her throat, and nearly out her mouth.” Luckily, beautiful things change Lily’s mood. Lily breathes in the smell of mud at a rest area, and the smell “pour[s] itself into some of the empty spaces in her.” Other beautiful things help: a wind farm with white vanes whirling against a violet sky, a red-winged blackbird “perched on a swaying stalk of last year’s corn,” and even a “falling-apart barn” that may be beautiful even if it’s not pretty. Two consecutive spreads capture the force and drama of an Iowa thunderstorm exploding on the plain, which is beautiful thing No. 9. Arriving at Gram’s house, Lily understands that change will not be easy, but she belongs with Gram now: No. 10. Both Lily and Gram present as White.

Stunning illustrations and a quiet appreciation of the natural world combine to create a positive message about change.

(Picture book. 4-8)