cover image Baby Wren and the Great Gift

Baby Wren and the Great Gift

Sally Lloyd-Jones, illus. by Jen Corace. Zonderkidz, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-310-73389-8

The natural glories of a canyon are on full display as a newborn wren tries to understand her place in the world. No parents are around, so the wren takes in her surroundings: Lloyd-Jones (The House That’s Your Home) repeatedly references “monarchs in the milkweed,” rustling switch grass, and a “glittering river” below. Several animals are nearby, and the wren wishes it could dive like a kingfisher, cartwheel like ring-tailed cats, or brave a storm like two eagles. In the end, the wren’s ability to bear witness to the beauty around her (“what she saw couldn’t fit inside her/ it bumped into her heart/ it dazzled in her eyes/ it pushed on her throat”) and to convert that appreciation into a praise-song of gratitude reveals that she is exactly who she ought to be. Lovely, precise detail characterizes Corace’s (Telephone) watercolor-and-pencil portraits of the animals and their habitat; her pale pink skies, craggy golden canyon walls, and wispy grasses make it easy to understand why the wren is moved to sing. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown. Illustrator’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Apr.)