BEFORE YOU WERE BORN by Deborah Kerbel

BEFORE YOU WERE BORN

by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 0 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Poetic verses compare a child’s pre-birth potential with things in the natural world in this latest collaboration between Kerbel and Del Rizzo (Sun Dog, 2018).

Before, you were… / A song in our hearts, / A star in our eyes, // A smile on our lips, / Shimmering skies, // The sun on our faces, / The full moon at night, // The tiniest murmur of tender delight.” While rhythmic and rather soporific, the comparisons are not ones children will be familiar with or likely to understand, and they only grow more abstract from this beginning. For parents-to-be and new moms and dads, though, the metaphors will surely strike a chord: A child in utero is “A curve in the road, up ahead out of view, / A whispered secret that only we knew.” And the ending is both beautifully illustrated and poignant: “Where Father Sky meets Mother Earth, // A new family dawns in the glow of your birth.” Accompanying the first line of the couplet are many of the animals that have appeared before in a sunrise gathering near the ocean, and accompanying the second is the light-skinned family—mother, father, baby—in each other’s arms and overlooking the same ocean sunrise. While the text is abstract and tends toward treacly, Del Rizzo’s polymer clay–and–acrylic wash artwork is the star here, adding texture and depth to the scenes, which show animals, many with babies, in their natural habitats.

Parents-to-be may enjoy the poetry, but only the pictures are meant for children. (Picture book. Adult)

Pub Date: May 3rd, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-77278-082-6
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Pajama Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2019




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