Paintings of a white child and a host of friendly animals set the stage for a welcome-to-the-world poem in this debut picture book.
Beginning with imagining that a baby journeys “from beyond the last star” to be born, this volume, dominated by oversized images with only one stanza on every two-page spread, makes the event a thing of legend. The infant’s smile ignites the Northern Lights. But the poem also offers readers a chance to tell their own stories, asking them to wonder how they began. The poem questions who lives within the baby’s heart and what language that “who” speaks. Many of Stoesz’s metaphors, particularly those from a spiritual perspective, will likely soar over young readers’ heads while others, such as the concept that monsters can be tamed with kindness, may resonate. Although most of the stanzas hold the same rhythm and rhyme pattern, a few misfire (“Who is it there, lying deep in your heart? / Is it a song? Or a lion? Or perhaps a buzzing bee?”). But the paintings by debut illustrator Rivarola are gorgeous. While the images fail to portray a diverse cast, kids should love the idea of riding on a giraffe’s head to see the world or playing on a swing made of starlight.
Adults may relish reading this tale aloud while their lap readers enjoy the beautiful illustrations.