The parent becomes the child in this sparsely worded French import.
The illustrations, done by 2020 Hans Christian Andersen Illustrator Award winner Albertine, rest in copious white space. They are spare, delicate line drawings in what appear to be pencil (no other color is applied) of a short-haired, dress-clad adult, as white as the page. All drawings appear on the recto; if one were to flip the book’s pages, the drawings would appear animated. The adult exclaims, “Here you are… // Finally!” and then cradles a miniscule but fully mature-looking adult, who appears to have emerged from the heart of the speaker. “I’ve been waiting for you,” reads the text. As the adult speaks fondly to the child (“my little one!”), telling them “our story,” embracing them, and even swinging them around in the air, the child grows tall. Gradually, the child is as tall as the parent once was while the parent shrinks in size. The child now cradles the parent until, bringing the story full circle, the parent seemingly disappears into the heart of its own offspring. The sense of movement on static pages is compelling—all in the form of fine, simple lines and dynamic page turns. This elegant story may tug more at the hearts of adult caregivers, but it surely provides food for thought for more-contemplative children, who may wonder at the notion that both characters at different times are the subjects of the book’s title. (This book was reviewed digitally with 12-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)
A playful and poignant take on parenthood.(Picture book. 5-12)