Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Baby Wren and the Great Gift

Today while I was waiting in line to vote at a local elementary school, I found myself looking at the walls of the hallway, which were adorned with students’ artwork and writing. One of the topics of the writing samples was "what kind of superpower would you like to have and why?"

Children’s imaginations are beautifully tuned into the "If only I had" and the "What-if" potential of life. Those superpowers, if they could harness them, would help perform all manner of incredible feats. Unfortunately, our young ones can also sometimes see themselves as falling short when they witness the talents of others and haven’t yet recognized the ones they already possess.

Baby Wren and the Great Gift, written by Sally Lloyd-Jones and illustrated by Jen Corace, sets a baby bird on a similar path of wonder. Just out of her nest, she sees all of the amazing things the other animals can do, but, when encouraged by them to try, she is unable to swim, fish, fly or do cartwheels. She begins to doubt herself and wonder if there is anything she can accomplish that is truly unique and exceptional. Life goes on around her as she ponders aloud and frets. "But no one answered./Monarchs played in the milkweed./A breeze rustled in the switch grass./And the glittering river ran on."

Eventually she notices the sunset casting a beautiful glow around the walls of the canyon in which she lives, and she becomes overwhelmed by the beauty she sees. "What she saw couldn’t fit inside her/ it bumped into her heart/ it dazzled in her eyes/ it pushed on her throat." Without even realizing what’s happening, she begins to sing a beautiful song celebrating the amazing sight she is witnessing around her. Her voice becomes a gift to the canyon, as well as everyone else.

Illustrations can really make a book, and these are no exception. Pencil and watercolors bring the story to life from the wren’s point of view, and perfectly complement the message of self-worth and validation of everything one has to offer. While written for children ages 3-7, it would also make a lovely gift for a new baby’s arrival or another special occasion.

Guest post by Bridget W.

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