cover image Life


Cynthia Rylant, illus. by Brendan Wenzel. Beach Lane, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-4814-5162-8

Rylant (Creation) looks to the natural world for wisdom and consolation as Wenzel’s (They All Saw a Cat) lush, heavily worked artwork imagines a primordial Earth with few signs of human existence. “Life begins small,” Rylant opens; among bare hills, a lone plant sprouts from red earth. “Then it grows.” A fantastic gathering of wild animals and birds looks out at readers expectantly. “Ask any animal on earth, what do you love about life?” Each animal has its own answer (“The hawk will say sky”), and its distinctive nature and perception determine the way it sees the world, just as ours do. Difficulties appear and fade, and when low moments come, “trust the rabbit in the field and the deer who crosses your path.” Animals are not just wise: twin vignettes of an eager dog and a wide-eyed cat remind readers that “in every corner of the world, there is something to love.” Readers in search of inspiration that does not need to be taken on faith will find it in Rylant’s message that to live is to grow. All ages. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (June)