cover image In Every Life

In Every Life

Marla Frazee. Beach Lane, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-66591-248-8

This brief, stirring benediction—based on a “call-and-response version of a Jewish baby-naming blessing,” Frazee (The Great Zapfino) notes on the book’s dedication page—starts with new life. “In every birth,/ blessed is the wonder” reads hand-lettered text, shown above delicately drawn vignettes of variously aged caregivers cuddling, nursing, and admiring infants and toddlers. “In every smile,/ blessed is the light” captures moments of pleasure as people read, talk, snuggle, and tussle. Across the pages’ silvery vignettes, intersectionally inclusive groups and individuals experience anticipation (“In every hope/ blessed is the doing”) and loss (“In every sadness,/ blessed is the comfort”), and embrace each other in vulnerability (“In every love,/ blessed are the tears”). Throughout, the blessings and attendant spot art alternate with wide, wordless landscapes: a changing sky covered in puffy pink clouds, a winding path through sparsely wooded hills, a lighted window on a rainy night. A rich trove of moving images lets Frazee range over an expansive constellation of human experiences, offering fodder to explore and discuss. Ages up to 8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Feb.)