Kate Ritchie (text), Hannah Sommerville (illus), I Just Couldn’t Wait to Meet You, Random House Australia, 28 March 2016, 32pp., $24.99 (hbk), ISBN 9780857989703
Celebrity radio and television performer Kate Ritchie is the author of this heartfelt picture book which recalls the nervousness and excitement she experienced during her pregnancy. She ponders over the gender of her baby, what will be the baby’s favourite toy and how they will grow up. When the child arrives it is surrounded with care and love; the nerves of anticipation give way to the joys of parenthood, the thrill of meeting her new baby and the privilege of being its guide and companion on the journey through life.
Written in loose rhyme, the text has a gentle flow which harmonizes with the sense of delight and expectation that permeates the book. The soft colours and astute depictions of everyday life allow Hannah Sommerville’s illustrations to subtly complement the quiet and tender atmosphere of the text. Small, circular pictures of the baby sometimes overlay the main illustration to cleverly convey the ubiquitous presence of the child in the mother’s thoughts and dreams. The presence of the father, wider family and older generations further enhance the sense of the arrival of the child being an exciting event for everyone and creates a feeling of warm support and nurturing for both the child and mother.
I Just Couldn’t Wait to Meet You is a moving expression of the joys and hopes that surround pregnancy and the newborn. It is suitable for all those impatiently awaiting the arrival of a baby, including parents, siblings or extended family.
Reviewed by John Nolan