The Perfect Picnic by Ciara Flood
A delightful picture book for those children who are perfectionists to teach them that not every little thing has to be just right in order for an experience to be fun and happy. Squirrel and Mole are best friends. Mole is easy-going and lets Squirrel have her way. Squirrel is determined that everything has to perfect. One day, they decide to go on a picnic. They visit numerous lovely locations, but at each spot, Squirrel finds a reason not to like it. Unbeknownst to them, but known to the reader through the illustrations, their picnic sack has a rip in it and all their food and utensils are falling out as they wander trying to find the perfect spot. Squirrel finally chooses a spot (one they have already visited), only to discover their picnic is gone! Squirrel is inconsolable until a number of animals appear, each carrying part of the lost picnic. A mouse carries the cake, an otter has the apples, a bat carries the blanket, a goat has the plates, and so on. So all the animals together share the picnic. Though the apples are bruised, the cake is squished, and the tea is cold, everyone, including Squirrel, still has a wonderful time. And for those children who are not assertive, there is also a lesson, as Mole finally speaks up and tells Squirrel at the end that the next time they have a picnic, they should include butter on their sandwiches (a favorite he had abstained from to accede to Squirrel’s tastes). I love the illustrations in the book – they are absolutely charming, full of detail and beautiful with their depiction of the countryside in bloom and the delectable picnic food.