Solomon Scarecrow and the Great Rescue by Naomi Wilkinson, illustrated by Charlotte Watkins
There was no way that I wasn't going to adore these illustrations, for a start! Charlotte Watkins also created the pictures for Peter the Picky Polar Bear, so straight away I knew I'd love Solomon. I then begun reading it with my littles, and completely fell in love with this book.
Solomon Scarecrow is looking for a friend; he travels through the countryside in the hope of meeting someone to play with, but all the other animals keep finding reasons why they don't want to. My childreaged 5 and 9-years old both loved reading this book, and it even encouraged them to read themselves, which is rare for my 9-year-old.
They wanted to befriend the scarecrow when he was feeling sad and tell the animals to be kind, which is exactly the emotions that I'd hope for a book to release.
On his travels, he comes across a rabbit who is running from a fox. He asks Solomon to help him to hide, to which the scarecrow agrees. He then proceeds to help all of the other animals that he's passed to do the same and eventually asks the animals once again if anyone would be his friend. This time, the animals say yes, and the scarecrow is alone no more.
This beautiful book teaches children the importance of not only friendship, but forgiveness too. The illustrations are so wonderful, and the rhyming story carries it along.
My youngest son even took this book to school and his teacher read it to the class, who all loved it too! A brilliant book for children to learn the values of kindness.