A gentle parable of how Mother Nature introduced human foibles and strengths to the world.
Based on a 2004 musical composition by renowned lyricist Lampert and jazz legend Wynton Marsalis, this glimpse into humankind is both fragile and deep. Puybaret’s acrylic illustrations on linen set a dreamlike mood. Mother Nature, draped in gossamer blossoms and reaching root tendrils, watches over all that grows and walks the Earth. She must also change the seasons—turning “noses red and cheeks rosy” during winter and being sure to shake “the sand from dreams” and “honey-up the bees” when the time is right. But for all her responsibilities, Mother Nature is lonely. She longs for children of her own. So she makes her first child, Fear (a name that is pleasant because it rhymes with “dear”). But when she looks to humankind to care for Fear while she is busy spinning the seasons, she sees cowardice has spread. To restore balance, she creates other children: Envy, Hate, Greed, and Fickle; each one no better than the last. Luckily, through wise council with the winds, she finally creates two tiny twins, both named Love. Though the prose has exquisite touches, some delicate moments seem buried in excess. However, Puybaret’s metaphorical illustrations are a good match, depicting a multicultural cast of humans aping the actions of Mother Nature’s ill-conceived children amid stylized backdrops.
It is an earned triumph when Love prevails. (Picture book. 5-10)