© Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess.
I don’t usually buy picture books for young readers/listeners, but the writer/artist team on this one made it an easy decision. Neil’s text is a rhymed poem, a lullabye for a young girl or the promise of one to come. Warm, wise, whimsical and charming. Alone it would probably fill a single page, maybe two with large type.
From this beginning, artist Charles Vess has created 32 pages of wonderful full-color art and hand-lettering, the latter in a charming upper and lower case style with an informal bounce that contributes much to the reading experience. And it is all hand-lettering, though I was interested to see that someone, probably at the publisher, made a font from it and used it on the cover flaps.
Charles’ art uses the poem as a starting point, and then goes off in his own direction for the most part, circling back to reference the text occasionally. The Girl in his pictures is ever changing, reflecting a wide range of humanity, and the pictures are full of birds, animals and plants, not to mention a mother, goddesses, and fairies, with a barn owl the most constant thread and companion.
I like the fact that the age group on the flap is listed as “All ages”. Young mothers of girl children are, perhaps, the perfect audience for this book, but anyone will enjoy it. Highly recommended.