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LOVING KINDNESS by Deborah Underwood


by Deborah Underwood ; illustrated by Tim Hopgood

Pub Date: Oct. 19th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-250-21720-2
Publisher: Godwin Books/Henry Holt

A meditative picture book devoted to honoring a sense of oneness with the world.

The book opens with a direct address to an unnamed baby of color: “You are a blessing. You are beautiful just as you are. You are loved, and you love.” Subsequent pages show the baby cradled and nurtured in an extended family. The art style is arrestingly simple, with human characters akin to those found in Christian Robinson’s work, though the colors overall, particularly backgrounds, are generally more saturated than his typically are. Following this celebration of the baby, the text’s refrains repeat with a new pronoun, she, to focus on a big sister—perhaps the baby has grown, or perhaps this is the baby’s older sibling; it’s open to interpretation. After the pages devoted to her, the pronoun shifts to they to introduce horses who join the children in the brightly colored illustrations. Finally, spreads about “everyone” bring the children together with a group of animals on “the earth that connects us all”—a phrase that concludes each segment. In the final iteration, two enormous green hands cradle children and animals, including lion, polar bear, giraffe, kangaroo and more, as whales, and other sea creatures swim beneath. The effect is to create a peaceable kingdom of loving kindness that acknowledges interconnectedness in soothing, gentle spreads. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A loving kind of book.

(Picture book. 2-5)