Sunday, March 29, 2015

Thank you, Jackson

Thank you, Jackson
written by Niki Daly; illustrated by Jude Daly
2015 (Frances Lincoln)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

"Mama says," explained Goodwill, "that it's the little things, like saying please and thank you, that make a big difference in the world."

Each morning, a farmer in Africa takes a load of fruits and vegetables to the market to sell. Jackson the donkey carries this load up a large hill without fail and without complaining until one morning when he stops halfway. Frustrated, the farmer fusses and fumes at the donkey, but Jackson doesn't move. The farmer pulls on Jackson, but to no avail. Starting to lose his mind, the farmer hurls verbal abuse at the donkey. At this point, Jackson decides to sit down and all the produce falls down the hill. The farmer, at wits end, searches for a stick. He shows Jackson the stick and starts a count. Beauty, the farmer's wife, sees and hears what is happening on the hill. She sends her son, Goodwill, to help his father with the donkey. The farmer reaches ten in his count and is about to strike Jackson when Goodwill intervenes. With a simple yet profound gesture, Goodwill saves the day. Jackson moves again, the farmer sees the error of his ways, and the produce is sold at the market. When the family returns home, the farmer takes a cue from his wise son.

Thank you, Jackson teaches three important lessons. The first lesson is to not take something for granted. Show your appreciation every day. Please and thank you go a long way in doing this. Second, no one is too small to do something big. Goodwill shows great wisdom and courage in doing the right thing. Third, the farmer learns from his mistake and shows contrition. Teachers and parents can model this when we make mistakes in front of children. Own your mistake and be transparent.

This is a terrific book for teaching the virtue of gratitude. The text is simple which allows readers to concentrate on comprehending. It's a tale that should be read by children and adults.

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