cover image Before You Were Born

Before You Were Born

Deborah Kerbel, illus. by Suzanne Del Rizzo. Pajama, $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-77278-082-6

Kerbel’s lullabylike verses draw allusions between moments in nature and a family’s anticipation of a new baby: “You were.../ A song in our hearts,/ A star in our eyes,/ A smile on our lips,/ Shimmering skies,” she writes. Rizzo’s unique illustrations are rendered using polymer clay and acrylics to create a dioramalike effect. Forest and mountain scenes feature textured trees and blue-tinged snow, thick like cake frosting. Among the animals in the spreads are foxes, bears, birds, and deer, and a blue whale and calf swim under ocean swells. The many animals gather to welcome the infant, “where Father Sky/ meets Mother Earth,/ A new family dawns/ in the glow/ of your birth.” A mother and father hold their newborn in a verdant seaside meadow. Rizzo brings eye-catching allure to Kerbel’s wistful welcome. Ages 4–7. [em](May) [/em]