A newborn child is welcomed by the sun, the wind, the Arctic land and all its animal inhabitants, who bring gifts of love and self-respect.
This sweet bedtime poem, in the tradition of Debra Frasier’s On the Day You Were Born (1991), is filled with the animals of the far north and the values of the author’s Inuit culture. Believe in yourself. Be generous and helpful, modest and kind, creative and spontaneous, patient and never lazy. “[G]et out of bed as soon as you wake.” Look to the stars. Lead gently. Neonakis’ illustrations use the colors of that northern world splendidly, especially the blues and greens of the water echoed by the baby’s green footie sleeper with its fur-trimmed hood. Her animals—from snow buntings and musk oxen to Arctic char and beluga whales—are stylized but recognizable, and the baby is charming. The text, a series of stanzas spoken or sung by a mother to her child, is written in sentences that are lengthy for a poem or song, but the sections are patterned in a way that is soothing and predictable, and each includes an affirmation: “happy Kulu,” “magnificent Kulu,” “cutest Kulu,” “beloved Kulu.”
“Kulu” is an Inuktitut term of endearment, but this appreciation for the baby and the baby’s world would make a lovely gift for any new parent. (Picture book. 0-5)