You Belong Here

M.H. Clark, illus. by Isabelle Arsenault. Compendium, $18.95 (40p) ISBN 978-1-938298-99-8
“The stars belong in the deep night sky/ and the moon belongs there too, / and the winds belong in each place they blow by/ and I belong here with you.” The repeating rhythms of Clark’s (The Man Made of Stars) bedtime verses calm and reassure. The verses describe the natural world (“The whales and the fishes belong in the sea/ and the waves belong by the shore”), while the chorus addresses children directly: “You’re the one I love the most.” Arsenault’s (Alpha) animal subjects appear as blank white images, softly shaded and hemmed in by ghostly gray wash. Gentle tints of blue, green, and vermilion hint at liveliness, but it’s twilight now, time for things to return to the places they belong: “I will always belong right here with you,/ and you’ll always belong with me.” Acknowledging that many children who read about the joys of nature live far from it, the final spread shows an elegant cityscape, in which a single brick building is picked out in red, and a single flower is seen in the window. Ages 4–up. (July)
Reviewed on: 04/11/2016
Release date: 06/01/2016
Genre: Children's
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