Teaching kids to see things from another’s view can be challenging, but these three books do the job beautifully!


A Perfect Day by Lane Smith

A Perfect Day by Lane Smith is perfect in its simplicity. Beautiful illustrations with simple, repetitive text draw the reader to share in the pleasures of a warm nap, cool drink, and good meal — the qualities of a perfect day for the cat, dog, chickadee, and squirrel. And then… emotional upheaval! Anger, frustration, sadness, disbelief follow as a bear ruins it all for his own pleasure – and his own perfect day. It provides a great platform to discuss how one person’s idea of “perfect” can be completely different from another’s and how we each can inadvertently trample on someone else’s perfect day. Best of all, it provides a concrete example for navigating sibling conflict — who is the cat? Who is the bear? What can we do differently so they can both have a perfect day?


It was a perfect day for Cat.


The cool of the water was what Dog liked best. When it was hot, Dog sat in the wading pool that his friend Bert filled for him.


It was a perfect day for Dog.


Squirrel went up the pole. Squirrel went down the pole. Squirrel could not get to the seed. Bert dropped a corncob onto the grass.


It was a perfect day for Dog.


It was a perfect day for Squirrel.


The warmth of the sun. The cool of the water. A belly full of corn and seed. A flower bed for a nap.


It was a perfect day for Bear.


They All Saw A Cat by Brendan Wenzel

They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel is a gorgeous book that lets the reader look at the same cat through the eyes of others in its world – a child, bee, worm, mouse. Each image conveys information about the viewer; some emotional, some scientific, all interesting and unique to the individual perspective. We love discussing the details of each perspective –  the mouse’s fear, the child’s comfort, the infrared detection used by snakes, the echolocation of bats, the overhead view of a bird. But my favorite part of this book is when the cat sees its own reflection. Distorted by rippling water, it’s a great example of how none of us sees ourselves clearly.


And the child saw a cat.


And the mouse saw a cat.


And the snake saw a cat. And the skunk saw a cat.


A child and a dog and a fox and a mouse and a bee and bird and a flea and a snake and a skunk and a worm and a bat. The cat knew them all and they all knew the cat.


And imagine what it saw?


Thank You, Octopus by Darren Farrell

Thank You, Octopus by Darren Farrell is simply a super fun book! The illustrations are lighthearted and packed with delightful details. The writing is humorous and fun to read. But the best part, as a parent, is watching my kids realize how frustrating it can be when one party *cough, cough* is constantly detouring the bedtime routine. By distorting all the things that make bedtime comforting (warm bath, reading, rocking, saying goodnight), my kids rapidly identify with the child and are eager to explain why he’s so frustrated by the end of the book. And then I’m eager to point out how mommy and daddy also have “No Thank You” moments – and I think they actually understand. Even if they don’t, it’s a great place to start the conversation.


Bedtime ahoy. Aw pickles.


But I made you a nice warm bath. Thank you, Octopus.


Of egg salad. Gross! No Thank you, Octopus.


With paint brushes. Yuck! No thank you, Octopus.


Or how about I read your favorite book? In robot language. Bleep, blarp, bloop.


No thank you, Octopus!