Crumbs by Phil Cummings

Author: Phil Cummings
Illustrator: Shane DeVries
Published: April 2022
Publisher: Scholastic
Readership: Children’s Picturebook
Rating: ★★★★★
RRP: $24.99

I received a copy of Crumbs from the publishers for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

On a wintry city street, a one-legged bird dances for crumbs to eat but Ella has nothing to give. Then her father shows how a simple act of human kindness can spread joy to all. A captivating and universal story.

It’s hard to know where to start with this beautiful picturebook.

Ella is waiting for her father to buy lunch after a day of shopping, when she encounters a one-legged bird looking for crumbs. Ella doesn’t have anything to give the bird, who then flies off to a homeless man who’s also been begging for crumbs only to have people turn their backs on him, and yet, he offers the little he has left to the bird. The interaction is witnessed by Ella’s father who demonstrates to his young daughter that kindness, generosity and basic humanity are strengths and should be afforded to all.

It’s an incredibly moving and powerful picturebook, and, honestly, one that makes me a little teary for its earnestness. Phil Cummings has done a wonderful job of crafting a story that has a profound message for young audiences (and also older audiences, too). The word choice is top-notch and makes for a beautiful read-aloud, one that should definitely encourage deep conversations.

Similarly, the illustrations evoke a sense of Pixar films – the characters in sharp focus, while the background has this faded, hazy feel of a cold winter’s day. They’re stunning to look at and explore and there’s such depth to the expressions on the characters faces. In combination with Cummings narrative, the illustrations truly bring this book to life.

I feel very fortunate to have read and experienced a text with such a strong social conscience and I can’t wait to share it with others.

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