cover image At This Very Moment

At This Very Moment

Jim Arnosky. Dutton, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-525-42252-5

While the artwork isn't quite as strong as the verse, Arnosky's goodnight book shines with appreciation and wonder about the world's animals and birds. The text begins, "Each and every moment/ of each and every day,/ amazing things are happening." What follows is a series of comparisons between the daily activities of a child ("You wash your face and comb your hair/ and brush and floss your teeth") and various animals or birds ("and as you do, a toothy shark/ is circling a reef... [and] a polar bear is running fast/ across a field of ice"). The accompanying illustration features two environments%E2%80%94the shark's underwater reef and the bear's Arctic landscape%E2%80%94separated by a thin diagonal slash, but united by a pale blue palette appropriate to both environments. Most spreads, however, focus on a single scene%E2%80%94a mother bear tumbles with her cub on a grassy hill while butterflies float by, and a majestic stag sips from a stream. Though the split-screen pairings can occasionally be jarring in terms of scale, Arnosky makes it clear that human existence occurs within an ecological network. Ages 6%E2%80%938. (May)