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You Belong Here Hardcover – July 1, 2016
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A narrator whispers sweet assurances of belonging in the ear of a beloved, invoking animals analogous habitats and hollows to bring the comforting ascriptions powerfully home. Watercolor illustrations utilize every gradation of gray to achieve astonishing, soft specificity and alternatively show human houses and animal homes in the natural world. Mellow reds, greens, and yellows crop up here and there, serving as keen testaments to the power of placement in the scenes they depict. Lovingly constructed, reliable rhymes, with pleasing pendular swings, might cause listeners to hug themselves tightly and smile. And the trees belong in the wild wood and the deer belong in their shade, and the birds belong so safe and good and warm in the nests they've made. Animals enjoy habitations all their own, sublime places described with crystalline clarity: streams skirted with cattails, red and gold desert rocks, canyons blanketed with sage, dune grasses, and a stone wall surrounded by clover. Cursive script (intrinsically personal and unique) accompanies lines directed at a listening human audience and images of human houses. One could easily improvise a quick melody and sing these words as a lullaby. This lyrical picture book will draw readers under its soft wing, lulling children with its velveteen artwork and assured affirmations of each creature's special nook in such a spectacularly varied world. (Picture book. 2-6) --Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
The stars belong in the deep night sky and the moon belongs there too, and the winds belong in each place they blow by and I belong here with you. The repeating rhythms of Clark's (The Man Made of Stars) bedtime verses calm and reassure. The verses describe the natural world (The whales and the fishes belong in the sea and the waves belong by the shore), while the chorus addresses children directly: You're the one I love the most. Arsenault's (Alpha) animal subjects appear as blank white images, softly shaded and hemmed in by ghostly gray wash. Gentle tints of blue, green, and vermilion hint at liveliness, but it's twilight now, time for things to return to the places they belong: I will always belong right here with you, and you'll always belong with me. Acknowledging that many children who read about the joys of nature live far from it, the final spread shows an elegant cityscape, in which a single brick building is picked out in red, and a single flower is seen in the window. Ages 4 up. --Publishers Weekly
About the Author
M.H. Clark is the Chief Storyteller for Compendium, Inc., one of the foremost creators of inspiring books, cards, and gifts. She has a long-standing belief in the power of words to uplift and inspire and is widely known in the Seattle area for composing impromptu poems for passersby at outdoor markets and events.
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Top customer reviews
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The soft illustrations are pleasant to look at and thoughtfully aligned with the text.
The message of belonging is one we all--adults and children alike--could benefit from being reminded of.