cover image All We Know

All We Know

Linda Ashman, illus. by Jane Dyer. Harper, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-168958-1

Returning to the mother-child focus of Little Baby Buttercup (2014), Ashman connects a mother’s love for her child to other instinctual tendencies throughout the animal kingdom and natural world. Dyer’s (the Cookies series) sumptuous mixed-media paintings center on a cherubic toddler of unspecified gender, who engages with nature’s offerings throughout the year—such as examining a daisy while sitting in a bed of flowers or tossing a handful of autumn leaves into the air. Ashman’s fluent verse strikes a lulling tone as she describes the innate biological knowledge of creatures (“The fox knows how to make a home inside a cozy log./ And no one taught the tadpole how to be a frog”) and cyclical events in nature. Throughout, Dyer highlights the child’s growing capabilities, and toward the end, the mother acknowledges how “you knew how to tell me/ that the time was finally right” when the baby was ready to be born. A gentle, heartwarming celebration of the continuity of life and of a parent’s love. Ages 4–8. [em]Author’s agent: Jennifer Mattson, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown. (Mar.) [/em]