Lily holds her raccoon stuffy tight as Gram packs the car. Lily and Gram are getting ready to drive across Iowa to Gram’s house. Lily looks at the X on the far side of the map, marking the spot where Gram lives. It looks so far away. She feels hollow in her chest.
Gram senses Lily’s feelings. “Let’s try to find ten beautiful things,” Gram says as they drive off. Looking out the window Lily does not see anything beautiful. But then the sun bursts up on the horizon. “Number one!” cries Lily. As they drive along the endless highway, they see beautiful things two and three in quick succession. Late into the night when they finally turn off the road and arrive at Gram’s house, they only have nine beautiful things. But ten is easy! They have each other.
This book itself is a beautiful thing. The text is poetic and conversational. The illustrations fill out the story perfectly. Both Lily and Gram’s faces are full of expressions from sadness to pure delight and love.
Every family will find their place in this book. Whether sitting in the backyard, driving into town, or making a long road trip, there is always the opportunity to search for and name ten beautiful things. Ten Beautiful Things is both a celebration of relationship and landscape. Ages 3 to 10. (Charlesbridge)