A narrator whispers sweet assurances of belonging in the ear of a beloved, invoking animals’ analogous habitats and hollows to bring the comforting ascriptions powerfully home.
Watercolor illustrations utilize every gradation of gray to achieve astonishing, soft specificity and alternatively show human houses and animal homes in the natural world. Mellow reds, greens, and yellows crop up here and there, serving as keen testaments to the power of placement in the scenes they depict. Lovingly constructed, reliable rhymes, with pleasing pendular swings, might cause listeners to hug themselves tightly and smile. “And the trees belong in the wild wood / and the deer belong in their shade, / and the birds belong so safe and good / and warm in the nests they’ve made.” Animals enjoy habitations all their own, sublime places described with crystalline clarity: streams skirted with cattails, red and gold desert rocks, canyons blanketed with sage, dune grasses, and a stone wall surrounded by clover. Cursive script (intrinsically personal and unique) accompanies lines directed at a listening human audience and images of human houses. One could easily improvise a quick melody and sing these words as a lullaby.
This lyrical picture book will draw readers under its soft wing, lulling children with its velveteen artwork and assured affirmations of each creature’s special nook in such a spectacularly varied world. (Picture book. 2-6)