I Wish I Had...
Giovanna Zoboli, illus. by Simona Mulazzani. Eerdmans, $16 (28p) ISBN 978-0-8028-5415-5
First published in Italy, this simple, graceful, and even majestic meditation reflects on the beauty and strength of familiar animals. “I wish I had the eyes of a blackbird to see every blade of grass growing in the meadow,” Zoboli begins, as Mulazzani offers a striking close-up of a blackbird whose golden eye is fixed on the viewer and who stands in a thicket of delicately drawn grass and weeds. In a spread as richly worked as a medieval tapestry, a deer strides through a dense stand of fruit-laden trees, its antlers morphing into branches thick with birds and leaves. The first-person wishes draw readers into a relationship with the animals, and the paintings add to the magic with dreamy and sometimes funny elements, like the two mice who share orange juice at a small table perched atop a larger one (“I wish I had the quick heart of a mouse as it makes its escape”). With poetic language and paintings that carry something close to the impact of icons, Zoboli and Mulazzani offer an attitude of reverence for the natural world. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/14/2013