PERFECT by Nicola Davies
Kirkus Star


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A fledgling swift helps a child cope with disappointment when a baby sister is different than expected.

The swifts return the same day the baby comes home from the hospital. The white narrator watches from the window, imagining "racing and chasing" with the baby. But something is wrong; dark, looping scrawls suddenly mar Fisher's eloquent, luminous pastel compositions. The baby is too still. (The baby's condition and prognosis are unknown; the baby herself is often shrouded in mist.) The birds circle as the pensive child plays alone and confesses, "I didn't want to feel the way I felt. But I couldn't love my sister, no matter how I tried." But after the child helps an injured fledgling to fly, the child wonders if the baby likewise "only needs a little help." A close-up of the fledgling's sharp-eyed face is mirrored by a close-up of the baby's white, frail face—the baby's dark eyes are sunken but gaze at readers with a similarly knowing expression. As the siblings lie in the garden, the narrator declares how it will be: the two of them, "screaming with delight and laughter." Davies deftly addresses—and respects—a dark feeling, and though her optimistic symbolism will certainly reassure children, it will equally reassure parents struggling with their own uncertainty or grief.

An emotionally vivid, hopeful illustration of unpredictability, disappointment, and acceptance—recommended for children and parents alike. (Picture book. 4 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-910862-46-9
Page count: 36pp
Publisher: Graffeg/Trafalgar
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2016


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