In honor of Valentine's Day, I have chosen to review a book that I fell instantly and deeply in love with upon first read; a book whose meaningful message is ultimately all about love.
Nancy Tillman's magnificent picture book, On the Night You Were Born, extols the jubilant celebration of a child's birth, an ode to the "one and only ever you." As the news of the birth travels, sailing "high on a breeze" dolphins, polar bears, and ladybugs rejoice, "...dancing all night..." Tillman's prose, which reads like a softly whispered song, manages to avoid ever feeling contrived or sappy. Instead, authenticity and eminence is woven seamlessly throughout the melodic text, clearly expressing the book's ultimate message, "you are loved" in the most magnificent of ways.
On the Night You Were Born excels not only at delivering a beautifully written poem. Each turn of the page reveals Tillman's radiant and richly colored illustrations. Every painted picture radiates a golden tinged exuberance, featuring an ever-present moon (complete with a smiling face), musical notes, and the occasional hidden message. Tillman's rendering of polar bears, giraffes, and birds contrast beautifully against the night's navy sky - creating a visually dramatic setting for this extraordinary night.
This book is the ultimate bed time story. Every child should read, or be read, this book over and over again until they know undoubtedly how special and loved they truly are. Children will be enchanted by the stunning visual imagery Tillman provides, delight at the illustration's clever details, and be rocked to sleep by the poetic, rhythmic flow of the words, all while being cloaked in the wonder of themselves, and love.