On the Night You Were Born

Nancy Tillman, Author
Nancy Tillman, Author . Holtzbrink/ Feiwel & Friends $16.95 (32p) ISBN 0-312-34606-9
Reviewed on: 11/20/2006
Release date: 10/01/2006
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The birth of a baby—"the one and only ever you"—causes jubilation throughout creation in this quietly celebratory picture book from newcomer Tillman. Polar bears dance, giraffes weave to the sound of brass horns, and "the moon smiled with such wonder/ that the stars peeked in to see you/ and the night wind whispered,/ 'Life will never be the same.' " Tillman successfully sidesteps the soft-focus sappiness that can accompany this genre. Her writing has the authenticity of whispered conversation; occasionally, she pauses in her exaltations of the baby to address the subject directly: "I think I'll count to three so you can wiggle your toes for me." Her strong, assured paintings truly set this book apart. The pictures subtly radiate golden glints of moonlight, and her almost sculptural rendering style gives her characters a hefty physicality that counterbalances the ethereal sentiments being expressed. Although one suspects that grown-ups will be most taken with the topic and treatment, this is one of those rare baby books that should make both skeptics and sentimentalists of all ages happy. All ages. (Oct.)

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