Alejandro's Gift by Richard E. Albert. il by Sylvia Long.
Chronicle Books: San Francisco, 1994.

What I love about this book is the theme. It is a gentle, peaceful story about a beautiful deed. A solitary man gardens to pass the time. While enjoying the fruits of his labor, he notices small animals coming out of the desert for water from his irrigation rows and shelter from the desert sun. He thinks about the animals' need for water and decides to dig a large enough source for the big animals, too. The character has some trial and error and extra work to do, yet still feels that the labor and sweat is worth doing, even when he can't actually watch the animals at the watering hole. I like that the story shows Alejandro's thought processes as he goes about his days, encouraging children then to think also about what they might do or create.

Richard Albert stretches the story discussing the animals of the desert, and there are descriptions at the end. Young ones may find this to be the best part, along with searching for the critters in the illustrations.

related-gardening, desert habitat, life in the desert, animals, water, sharing
RL=1st-2nd, read aloud with toddlers-K *Not 1st level reading. The words are mostly not difficult, but it's not short, and it is paragraphs, not sentences level.

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