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More for the parents than for the child
on January 28, 2012
This didn't begin as a story for young readers: it's a poem with wishes for a young girl's life, originally written by Gaiman as a present to a pregnant friend of his, and, somewhat later, illustrated by Charles Vess to turn it into a book. (The friend was Tori Amos, which gives it an additional jolt of celebrity -- that shouldn't matter, but kids' books by famous people have practically taken over the field over the past decade, so it may be germane.)
The poem is addressed to various goddesses, who are urged to bestow their blessings on this "blueberry girl." They're very welcome blessings, if they come, and are both thoughtful and quirky -- but I do wonder why this particular baby is a blueberry girl, and if the fruit taxonomy continues across other infants? (My younger son -- now age eleven -- is almost certainly an Apple Boy, but his older brother is more complicated, and might have to be a Pomegranate or a Black Raspberry.)
The Vess art is detailed and intricate, and illustrates possible moments in the lives of possible Blueberry girls rather than trying to detail the requested gifts -- which is all to the good. The book would make a nice gift for a woman expecting her own Blueberry Girl (or possibly even a Boysenberry or Cherry, of either sex), or for a young Blueberry Girl herself. But I expect it will be more loved by parents than the children who have it read to them, which is a somewhat sad thing for any children's book.