Stylish matryoshka nesting dolls describe the concept of generations.
It’s a lovely conceit. Nesting dolls fit together much as an intergenerational family does. “My father’s father’s father’s father’s dad saw the birth of… / my father’s great-great-grandfather,” and the text continues to follow the lineage to the parent addressing his “very own child.” Companion title From Mother to Mother focuses on matrilineal heritage. Set on a tall, narrow trim, successive nesting dolls become smaller as the book progresses, until it reaches the last page’s diminutive child figurine. Black-outlined bodies on clean white backgrounds are accented by a single vivid color. Patterns on the figures are intricate, with crisply lined flora and fauna twisting around each other to create symmetrical, balanced compositions. The blue father doll features elegant, solid-colored lilies, blueberries, and a dragonfly, each with the barest amount of detailing. Sections of colored text match the accent color from the previous page, creating a further tie across generations. It’s all pleasingly harmonious. But as a read-aloud, it founders with its many recitations of family history, and it’s unlikely the intended audience will grasp such an abstract concept. It isn’t clear from the identical faces that these are descendants, and only a tiny missing moustache demarcates the ultimate child.
While this will be a wildly appealing baby-shower gift, it’s as a color concept book that the pieces really come together. (Board book. 1-3)