cover image Who Is the World For?

Who Is the World For?

Tom Pow. Candlewick Press (MA), $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-1280-1

Delicately etched watercolor-and-pencil illustrations furnish an elegant counterpoint to Scottish poet Pow's children's book debut. In a succession of lyrical musings, various baby animals ask their respective parents, ""Who is the world for?"" Each receives the same reassuring response: ""The world is for you!"" but the parents embroider the reply with evidence uniquely tailored to their offsprings' experiences. A mother bear points out ""deep dark caves/ for you to shelter in"" and ""spring rivers, shining in sunlight,/ shimmering with fish""; a father lion cites ""high smooth rocks for you to bask on."" The tale culminates with a boy asking his father the question, and the man incorporates the creatures that have preceded them, then responds with details all readers can relate to: a world with ""parks for you to play in"" and ""hills for you to climb up high."" Pow's glorious use of language evokes a familial intimacy: a baby whale moves at her mother's side ""like a tugboat in the shadow of an ocean liner""; Arctic hares doze with their ""slipper-soft babes in secret burrows of snow."" The visual cadence of Ingpen's (The Dreamkeeper) artwork reflects the graceful nuances of the text. With the keen eye of a naturalist, the artist carefully avoids anthropomorphizing his subjects, while deftly communicating the parent-offspring bond. A lovely book with a subtle environmental message. Ages 4-up. (Nov.)