cover image Where the Sunrise Begins

Where the Sunrise Begins

Douglas Wood. Simon & Schuster, 16.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-689-86172-7

The swooping font, sunrise hues, and idyllic scene of a boy and his toy boat on the cover of this book signal the inspirational message found within. “Where does the sunrise begin?” asks Wood (Old Turtle), answering the question in prose poetry (“Some say it starts upon the great, rolling sea,/ over waters deeper than the highest mountains”; “Some say it begins in Africa,/ where life first arose and walked on two legs/ and spoke its own name”). Popp (One Candle) drafts closeups of natural wonders (a nestful of bird’s eggs, a prehistoric jawbone), then pulls back for striking portraits of children observing the objects (a dark-haired girl aims her camera at the nest, an African girl in native dress contemplates the skull). “Wherever there is a heart that loves the light,” Wood concludes, “...and feels gratitude for each new day,/ in that heart the sun is always rising/ and helping to fill the world with light.... The sunrise begins in you.” It’s a noble sentiment, and Wood’s prayerlike prose is the sort that even less spiritually oriented gift givers will be drawn to. Ages 3–7. (May)