October 21 – Count Your Buttons Day

Happy Buttons Day!

Button, Button, Who’s Got the Button?

Today I’ve got three picture books featuring buttons!

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Rabbi Benjamin’s Buttons written by Alice B. McGinty and illustrated by Jennifer Black Reinhardt (2013)

Rabbie Benjamin loves his synagog and his happy congregation. And they loved him too. In fact, they got together one year and made him a holiday vest with four shiny silver buttons down the front. Rabbi Benjamin loved his new vest, but the more he ate at every holiday meal, the tighter and tighter his vest became until at last one button after another popped. Each time Rabbi Benjamin lost a button, he tried something else to fasten his vest. Rabbi Benjamin worked hard all summer to lose weight and in the fall, his vest fit well again, but the missing buttons were still a problem. Then, Rabbi Benjamin was surprised once more with a brand new holiday vest with four very familiar sliver buttons shining down the front.

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Beautiful Buttons: A Biography of Mr. B written by Cathy Torrisi and illustrated by Pattie Silver

This is the second in the series of Letter People books for children. The Letter People was an educational literacy program on public television starting in the early 1970’s. Each letter of the alphabet was depicted by a character made up of something which begins with that letter. All of the consonant letters were boys and all the vowel letters were girls. This is the story of Mr. B, a button man. Mr. B loved buttons since he was a baby. When he got older he went to school and was called Button Boy because he had such a huge collection of buttons. One day bright and shiny objects started disappearing. Mr. B had an idea, he set out bait, a bag full of buttons with a small hole in the bottom of it, to catch the thief. Mr. B followed the trail of missing buttons to the biggest bird he had ever seen. In the bird’s nest were all the things that had been taken from his neighborhood. Mr. B helped the bird return all the items to their rightful owners. At the end of the day, all his friends had a parade in his honor!

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Buttons for General Washington written by Peter and Connie Roop and illustrated by Peter e. Hanson (1987)

I saved this book for last, because it is an early reader more than a picture book, but older picture book readers will enjoy this story too. It’s a story of a young boy who is carrying coded messages to General Washington in his buttons. Along the way he gets into a fight with another boy, is stopped by a British soldier, and is caught in the woods and led at gunpoint to the American camp. The boy tells his story there and is surprised that he is actually talking to the real General Washington.

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