This book is a love song to a family, to a farm. My aunt sent it to us just after my little sister was born. And oh boy! How we loved this book. It is the story of a boy growing up on a family farm, in a loving and completely secure environment. At the end of the book, his little sister is being born and he thinks about all the places he will show her--all the places to love.
It is terribly sweet. One complaint on Amazon is that the little boy is talking like an adult looking back on his life, not as a little kid. Which is a legitimate point. But it is a quiet, lovely book and it does make my heart squeal with love.
And the pictures. Oh, the pictures! Gorgeous.
Blueberry basket and leaf shadows,
On the day I was born
My grandmother wrapped me in a blanket
made from the wool of her sheep.
She held me up in the open window
So that what I heard first was the wind.
What I saw first were all the places to love:
The river falling down over rocks,
The hilltop where the blueberries grew.
From the moment this boy was born, he had a place. He was immersed in that place, in the wool grown on that place, the wind blowing over that place.
My grandfather was painting the barn,
And when he saw me he cried.
He carved my name--Eli--
On a rafter beside his name
And grandmother's name
And the names of my papa and mama.
Oh, the love. And continuity.
Fields of wildflowers.
Where else is soil so sweet?
The river--Grandmother's place
That sound, like a whisper, she said.
Blueberry hill, Mama's place.
Where else, said my mama, can I see the sun rise on one side
And the sun set on the other?
Where else, he says, can the soft sound of cows chewing
Make all the difference in the world?
Today, Eli and his grandfather are waiting for a new arrival.
Wrapped in a blanket made from the wool of her sheep,
And my grandfather cries.
Before this baby is even a day old, Eli feels his responsibility to show his little Sylvie all the places to love.
Ohhhh! Love, love, love.
There is so much love in this book. Love for family, for their place, for the world around them.