FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY. This is a prayer for a blueberry girl... A much-loved baby grows into a young woman: brave, adventurous, and lucky. Exploring, traveling, bathed in sunshine, surrounded by the wonders of the world. What every new parent or parent-to-be dreams of for her child, what every girl dreams of for herself.
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Neil Gaiman is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Neverwhere, Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, Anansi Boys, The Graveyard Book, Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett), The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains; the Sandman series of graphic novels; and the story collections Smoke and Mirrors, Fragile Things, and Trigger Warning. He is the winner of numerous literary honors, including the Hugo, Bram Stoker, and World Fantasy awards, and the Newbery and Carnegie Medals. Originally from England, he now lives in the United States. He is Professor in the Arts at Bard College.
Charles Vess's work has graced the pages of numerous publications and has been exhibited internationally. Some of his other books include Blueberry Girl by Neil Gaiman, a circle of cats and Seven Wild Sisters with Charles de Lint, a new edition of Peter Pan, and The Ladies of Grace Adieu with Susanna Clarke. His awards include a Mythopoeic, Ink Pot, two Chesley, two World Fantasy, and two Eisner awards.From School Library Journal:
PreS Up—Gaiman and Vess worked together on Stardust (HarperCollins, 2000), the award-winning fantasy that became a film in 2007. One can count on them for a fresh approach to the conventions of a genre. This New Age "prayer" for a yet-to-be-born child is no exception, although the combination of a picture-book format with concepts that require adult understanding may cause confusion or boredom in youngsters ("Keep her from..../Nightmares at three or bad husbands at thirty,/.... Dull days at forty, false friends at fifteen-"). Visually, the book also struggles with a split personality. One scene, in which animals peer at a girl in jeans and dreadlocks, is rendered in watercolor, defined by clean outlines, for a contemporary, realistic look. Another view of naked babies sleeping in flower petals is created with a hazy focus, calling to mind Jessie Willcox Smith or Elsa Beskow's Peter in Blueberry Land (Floris, 1988). The dedication indicates that this poem was written for a pregnant friend; it seeks to ward off all sorts of fairy-tale trouble: "Ladies of light and ladies of darkness and ladies of never-you-mind.... Keep her from spindles and sleeps at sixteen/Let her stay waking and wise." The "ladies" are draped in clouds and cloaks, sunsets and rainbows. The racial characteristics, hair color, and age of the girl change from page to page, presumably for an "everygirl" effect. This may resonate with people purchasing baby presents, as Seuss's Oh, the Places You'll Go! (Random, 1990) strikes a chord at graduation. The card, however, should read "Mother."—Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library
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