"This is the first time / There's ever been you, / So I wonder what wonderful things / You will do."
In this timeless poem about growing up, Emily Windfield Martin explores all the things you can choose to be, from brave and bold to creative and wise.
Filled with beautiful, quirky illustrations and clever rhyme, grown-ups will love reading this book to their children at any age, as they lovingly consider all the possibilities that lie ahead. Its enduring message of love and acceptance as children grow and change is both universal and poignant, and it one to share over and over again.
The wealth of possibilities contained within even the tiniest child is the subject of Martin's (Day Dreamers) love letter from parent to offspring: "When you were too small/ To tell me hello,/ I knew you were someone/ I wanted to know." This potential can be seen in everything children do, from working in a garden ("Will you learn what it means/ To help things to grow?") to bandaging a toy bear. The book concludes with a double gatefold, drawn as a proscenium-style curtain, that reveals a group of eccentrically costumed children (a robot, a pencil, a log) to represent the idea of becoming "anybody/ That you'd like to be." Martin's characters generally exhibit a preternatural sense of self-possession, but this book's subject matter adds another layer of meaning to the poised poker faces on display. Her children are so serious (even when swinging on a swing) and so unflappable (even when tailoring a pair of pants for a squirrel) that they convey not just hope for the future, but a sense of manifest destiny.
A love song to baby with delightful illustrations to boot.
Sweet but not saccharine and singsong but not forced, Martin's text is one that will invite rereadings as it affirms parental wishes for children while admirably keeping child readers at its heart. The lines that read "This is the first time / There's ever been you, / So I wonder what wonderful things / You will do" capture the essence of the picture book and are accompanied by a diverse group of babies and toddlers clad in downright adorable outfits. Other spreads include older kids, too, and pictures expand on the open text to visually interpret the myriad possibilities and hopes for the depicted children. For example, a spread reading "Will you learn how to fly / To find the best view?" shows a bespectacled, school-aged girl on a swing soaring through an empty white background. This is just one spread in which Martin's fearless embrace of the white of the page serves her well. Throughout the book, she maintains a keen balance of layout choices, and surprising details-zebras on the wallpaper behind a father cradling his child, a rock-'n'-roll band of mice paralleling the children's own band called "The Missing Teeth"-add visual interest and gentle humor. An ideal title for the baby-shower gift bag and for any nursery bookshelf or lap-sit storytime.