The unseen and unnamed narrator of this Italian import wishes for many lively and thoughtful things.
That child wishes for the eyes of a blackbird, so to see every blade of grass in the meadow, the “forest of thoughts” that a deer listens to in the woods and the wings of a goose on the first day of flight. The narrator wants to have the “quick heart” of a mouse escaping the cat, the voice of the whale and the gaze of the owl. While these many wishes are sometimes awkwardly phrased in English and don’t have much music behind them, the pictures go a long way toward capturing the magic. The blackbird, a dark matte shape across two pages, is in a meadow of feathery grass fronds and delicately sketched wildflowers. Two mice sip from tiny glasses of orange juice while two others alertly try to hide from the oncoming cat. The lemurs swing from branches that are actually urban apartments. The last wish is for the ears of an elephant “to hear what the heavens say,” and that elephant has images of animals, trees, birds and flowers sketched all over his body, like gossamer tattoos.
Images to return to again and again, with the text a jumping-off point to a sweet philosophy. (Picture book. 4-8)