Friday, November 25, 2011

This New Baby

Written by Teddy Jam
Paintings by Virginia Johnson
$8.95 (board book), 22 pages

A mother watches her newborn, and wonders about all that he sees and feels in this tender poem originally published in 1999 as a picture book. 

"This new baby / sleeps in my arms / like a moon / sleeping on a cloud," the mother muses, as she holds him close, her face touching his.

Later, she says, as he drifts into a dreamworld in father's lap, he's "like a hawk drifting through the sky."

For a time the baby's still, then something stirs inside him, disquiets him, "the sound of hawks' wings lifting," and he lets out a cry, deep from inside.

His wail challenges his unrest, and "chases old ghosts / back into the shadows." Then his body relaxes once more, his eyes open "like two moons / shining on a lake," and he rests limply over his father's shoulder.

Later as the sun rises like a big orange balloon, mother takes him out in his stroller, aware that so much is new to him, and she wonders what he's thinking.

"This new baby stares at the sun, this new baby searches for his toes / what this new baby finds / what this new baby knows."

Johnson's delicate watercolors match the text's wondrous quality, a feeling of being blissfully lost in one's thoughts.

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