As in Cordell’s Wish, a pair of animals celebrates the arrival of a child. Two gorillas lean over their new baby’s crib; a small arm stretches up out of it. With simple, heartfelt words, the narrator confronts the joy and terror that parenthood brings: “We looked upon you, impossible you, and we felt everything. Who would you be?” An extended dream sequence expresses the child’s growing up as the journey of an artist. The child carries a paintbrush everywhere, and as the story progresses, some of the spreads, painted in a rougher, looser style, are meant to represent the child’s increasingly accomplished work. “I saw a new you,” the gorilla parent says. “Taller. Wiser. Stronger. Strong in body... strong in soul.” Animal characters provide a way for illustrators to include all readers, yet using gorillas to represent humans and housing them in a round, thatched hut has uncomfortable echoes. There’s no mistaking the text’s goodwill, though; Cordell voices the hopes of families with disarming honesty, finding words for feelings that parents can’t always articulate. Ages 3–5. Agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/06/2017 Release date: 05/02/2017 Genre: Children's
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