Elizabeth McPike (text), Jay Fleck (illus.), Everything You, University of Queensland Press, 1 Jan 2018, 32pp., $19.95 (pbk), ISBN: 9780702260032
Everything You is a beautiful meditation on the joy, hopes and dreams that a new baby brings to a family. Beginning with an alligator (crocodile?) family awaiting their egg to crack open, each double page spread features a different animal family, delighting in the magic of their new family member. The final page features the baby reptile hatching, with the final sentence
“you’re every wish answered, our hearts how they grew..every day countless, everything you.”
There is no storyline, as each page simply brings a different statement on the love and possibility new family members bring. The uncluttered poetic text and themes of love and family come close to sentimentality, but are freshened by the modern graphic illustrations with retro colour tones, which capture a sweet innocence as the parents on each page look on at their little miracle or miracles. Although many of the illustrations depict traditional nuclear family structures, sometimes there is only one parent, and separate references to mummy and daddy mean that single parent families are included, although other carer combinations are unfortunately not featured.
Described as a ‘love song to a baby’, this title would make a treasured bed-time reading ritual for any very young child. Perfect for a home, early childhood or public library collection, Everything You would also be a beautiful gift for a family with a new bundle of joy.
Reviewed by Kay Oddone