cover image The Starlight Baby

The Starlight Baby

Gillian Shields. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-4169-1456-3

How does a baby go about finding someone to love him or her? The title character is all alone in the world-and desperate for a maternal presence in his or her life (no gender is specified). The determined child interrogates virtually every creature with whom he or she comes into contact-the stars, the moon, the west wind-yet is turned away by each. Shields (Ben and Gran and the Whole, Wide, Wonderful World) delivers a poetic rhetoric via her many characters, portraying a cold, unfeeling world (""Moon, silver moon,/ can you warm me?/ Will you be my mother?"" asks the baby; ""The moon blinked cold and pale above the world""). Harbour's (A First Picture Book of Nursery Rhymes) imagery in muted watercolors similarly casts a shadow over this seemingly inhumane universe. But before all hope is lost, a childless woman answers the babe's call, and the very forces of nature that had rejected the child inevitably unite the two. As the story shifts to a more upbeat note, nighttime turns to dawn, a glimmer of light making its mark in the sky-and offering a ray of hope for mother and child, who have finally found their way to each other. This quiet yet heartwarming tale may be better suited to adoptive parents than to their little ones. All ages.