One for Moms: Blueberry Girl by Neil Gaiman
Ladies of light and ladies of darkness and ladies of never-you-mind,
This is a prayer for a blueberry girl.
First, may you ladies be kind.
Neil Gaiman, recent winner of the 2009 Newbery Award, has a new picture book, a prayer-poem, first written for a friend expecting the birth of a girl child. In it he calls upon the Fates, whom he terms the "Ladies," to grace the baby girl with all the blessings one would wish for any child.
Let her tell stories and dance in the rain,
Somersault, tumble, and run.
Her joys must be high as her sorrows are deep.
Let her grow like a weed in the sun.
The blessings sought run from the fantastic to the ironical but purely practical:
Keep her from spindles and sleeps at sixteen.
Nightmares at three or bad husbands at thirty.
These will not trouble her eyes.
Dull days at forty, false friends at fifteen,
Let her have brave days and truth.
Let her go places that we've never been.
Trust and delight in her youth.
Illustrator Charles Vess spins out glorious illustrations, amid varied depictions of the to-be blessed girl--tall, small, white, black, infant and youth, realistic and magical--surrounded by a protective cohort of animals who lead and guide her, all with a curvaceous, voluptuous movement which evokes the art of the pre-Raphaelites, Art Nouveau, Rackham and Parrish, and even Trina Schart Hyman, and which swirls forward and around the text in a movement which leads the reader forward through the pages as the child moves forth through life.
Truth is a thing she must find for herself,
Precious and rare as a pearl.
Give her all these and a little bit more,
Gifts for a blueberry girl.
It's hard for even the cynical to read Blueberry Girl without a hint of a lump in the throat. A wonderful gift for a mother-to-be or even an "old" mom whose girl is already launched, this is a book for anyone who wishes the best for their children.
A trailer for the book, read well by the author, can be found here.