Another favorite that came out last year, this book is so special. Written by the always marvelous Oliver Jeffers for his little boy, it reads like a love letter to a new human being, introducing them to the basic picture of the world and those who inhabit it. The perfect gift for any special little one in your life, our day 3 book is Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers, 2017.
What is is about?
It opens with a “Well, hello.” from way out in outer space. Jeffers explains a bit about the solar system and the earth. Short and simple (kind of) answers about very big concepts. Land, sea, sky… and then people, starting with the person the book is for.
A person. With a body that is made up of mostly parts that don’t grow back. He talks about people, with all their differences, and yet all the same. Animals, with their variations and lack of language. Jeffers explains the quiet and the busy, the amazingness of the big earth, and the need for the small child to exist and yet never be alone.
Why I picked it
I have long been an admirer of Jeffers’ work. He is a wonderfully successful mixture of fine artist and storyteller, witty and thought-provoking, entertaining and heart-warming. This book is sweet, yet not overly simple. It is easily relatable, deeply profound, and clever. Jeffers poured so much of his heart into this book, that it feels personal. The arc of the story is beautifully executed. From introducing the grand mystery of the huge universe, all the way to ending with the vast array of knowledge and love of all the people living on earth. I’m always fascinated by Jeffers’ artistic style in books as it varies a lot from his incredible fine art paintings. This book does a lot more of almost combining those two different styles. It is still wildly funny and his book style, but the majority of background and landscape paintings edge closer to his painting style in their depth, precision and beauty.
Who will love this?
This is the ultimate new baby book in my opinion. It is an excellent gift for age 0 up to age… you decide. I cannot cap it. I would have loved to receive this from one of my parents had they found it first. And if my girls had been grown when I found it, I would have excitedly given it to them too. Thankfully, they have it now and we use it for sweet readings, and occasionally jumping off into deeper, philosophical questions about the universe and the people in it.
Bonus Gift Pairings
If I give this to new babies (or expectant parents), I love to pair it with a favorite board book and perhaps a unique little teething toy. For an older child, I would love to pair it with an issue from Bravery magazine, the Mae Jemison one being a brilliant match with outer space. And I would absolutely pair this book with another great book from last year, This Is How We Do It by Matt Lamothe, an excellent continuation of the differences and similarities of people.
See you tomorrow for the next book from this year in my 25 Days of Favorite New Picture Books countdown!