Serendipity - Stephen Cosgrove, Robin James
This book is in the top five of books that were integral to my childhood reading experience. (The others include: Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, D'Aulaire's Greek Myths, Grimm's Fairy Tales and various Dr. Seuss books). Odds are you've heard of most of these, but the Serendipity books don't seem to be as well known. As a result I was delighted to re-discover these recently and to find that they are still in print in their original affordable paperback format. I love picture books, but the truth is that many of them can be pricey. I love seeing a book that a child could realistically purchase with his or her own allowance money.

But it's not just the affordable format that has me excited about these books. The first thing that stands out are the lovely illustrations by Robin James. This first book in the series features a giant pink sea monster (Serendipity) who doesn't quite know what she is or where she belongs in the world. Who hasn't felt like that at some point in their lives? And I don't know how anyone could fail to fall completely in love with Serendipity at first sight!

I can see how adults might find Cosgrove's inclusion of a specific 'moral' as overly didactic, but I can recall as a child that I was only vaguely aware of this and truly just enjoyed Serendipity's little journey of self discovery. As an parent I see Cosgrove's morals as a springboard for discussion with a child about the story and its meaning.

I highly recommend this and several others in the series - namely the Morgan books featuring Morgan the unicorn.