Ivory's Present
by Jillian M. Capodiferro & Suzanne C. Geddes
Trafford Publishing

"Back in the land of the clear crystal waters it was always known that every oyster should be caring, and gracious and giving."

Ivory and her friend Grace are part of the kingdom of oysters under the waves. When their king asks his subjects to go out into the ocean and spread their message of selflessness, Ivory has misgivings about how far she should go to make a difference. After being separated from her friend, she must make the remainder of her journey alone. Feeling scared and lonely, Ivory meets a grouchy catfish with a grim view of the world living in a tin can. Determined that this is where she should make a difference in the world, she attempts to cheer up the catfish, going so far as giving up the thing most precious to her in order to show him he is cared about.

With an emphasis on sharing and selflessness, this book uses the ocean depths to attract young readers. Each page is a full illustration with "word bubbles" used to isolate the narration and dialogue. The book's message uses repetition to ensure it is received, as it is both the king's edict and also the most important lesson of the oysters. The kind young oysters, the wise king, and the gruff catfish Slog all stand out and are ideal for reading aloud. In addition to teaching children how important it is to include others, the end of the book teaches a valuable lesson about not being swayed by the opinions of others in doing what you think is truly right. With a simple story, bright pictures, and great discussion points, this book is excellent for sharing a lesson with children.

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