cover image Only You

Only You

Robin Cruise, , illus. by Margaret Chodos-Irvine. . Harcourt, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-15-216604-5

Cruise's (Little Mamà Forgets ) parental cooing provides soothing accompaniment to another sumptuous series of domestic portraits from Caldecott Honor artist Chodos-Irvine (Ella Sarah Gets Dressed ). The book visits three parent-child pairs (including one father-son duo) at different points during the day and year. Evening finds a mother lovingly ushering her preschool-age daughter from bath to bedtime: "I love your kiss,/ your gentle sleep./ I love to watch you dream,/ so deep./ .../ I love my one, my only.../ you." The text's reverie mood teeters towards the soporific at times, but it's constantly buoyed by the visual energy that emanates from Chodos-Irvine's full-bleed spreads and spot illustrations. Using an array of printmaking techniques, she gives her colors, textures and shapes a robust physical presence that makes even the most familiar domestic set pieces seem fresh and unsentimental. The artist is at her most impressive when working in extreme close-up, capturing the unalloyed affection and physical intimacy that defines the first years of the parent-child relationship: the way a boy wraps his whole body around his father's head during an autumn piggyback ride, the utter bliss shared in a morning tickle of baby's knees, toes and feet. Ages 3-5. (Apr.)