Review Blog

Jul 16 2013

On the day you were born by Margaret Wild

cover image

Ill. by Ron Brooks. Allen and Unwin, 2013. ISBN 9781 74114 754 4.
(Age: 3+) Highly recommended. Picture book. Family. Childhood.
Each page begins with the lines,
'My daddy said:
On the day you were born',
and then follows several lines about where the child's father takes him, with pride and love, to show him to his new environment. He is taken to see the night creatures, the bat, the owl and the mouse, all of whom woke and poke their heads out of the sleeping holes to welcome the new child. They then follow the bees taking in the smell of honey. Later the ducks are seen as mother duck swims back to rescue a duckling which has strayed. A tree is viewed: an old gnarled tree where the child's parents first met. Animals are viewed, a feather falls on the child's hand, a berry tasted. Father takes his baby back home where mother waits and the three become the world, safe and sound together.
The tenderness of the text in exploring all the things a child becomes part of as it develops is intoxicating. Every sense is mentioned: sound, taste, hearing, sight and feeling, as the child tastes the berry, hears the sound of the duck, feels the feather, watches the things his father points out, and later tells the reader what father said, all alluding to the nurturing nature of the family and its responsibilities in bringing up a child.
Ron Brooks' illustrations extend the text with imagination and verve. Younger readers will love to look at the variety of landscapes he paints, searching for the things mentioned in the text as well as taking time to look at all that environments so gloriously illustrated.
A delightful book to read aloud and share with young children at home or in a classroom, where discussion is sure to involve remembrances of early childhood and the comforting love of the family.
Fran Knight

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