Reviews for On the Night You Were Born:
(All ages) Using simple, well-chosen words juxtaposed with arresting images, Tillman imagines the world standing still to take note of a baby’s birth. After all, “never before in story or rhyme… has the world ever known a you, my friend, and it never will, not ever again.” Dr. Seuss made this point first and most fantastically, in “Happy Birthday to You!” But Tillman’s mixed-media compositions, featuring dancing bears and celestial brass instruments, are riveting in their own way. Older children should be particularly gratified to find out what a big deal they really are.
The birth of a baby-“the one and only ever you”-causes jubilation throughout creation in this quietly celebratory picture book from newcomer Tillman. Polar bears dance, giraffes weave to the sound of brass horns, and “the moon smiled with such wonder/ that the stars peeked in to see you/ and the night wind whispered,/ ‘Life will never be the same.’ ” Tillman successfully sidesteps the soft-focus sappiness that can accompany this genre. Her writing has the authenticity of whispered conversation; occasionally, she pauses in her exaltations of the baby to address the subject directly: “I think I’ll count to three so you can wiggle your toes for me.” Her strong, assured paintings truly set this book apart. The pictures subtly radiate golden glints of moonlight, and her almost sculptural rendering style gives her characters a hefty physicality that counterbalances the ethereal sentiments being expressed. Although one suspects that grown-ups will be most taken with the topic and treatment, this is one of those rare baby books that should make both skeptics and sentimentalists of all ages happy. All ages.
(Oct.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 2-Rhyming text extols and celebrates the uniqueness of a newborn. “Because there had never been anyone like you.ever in the world.” As the news of the birth travels, creatures around the world celebrate. “When the polar bears heard, they danced until dawn.” “.the geese flew home.” “Heaven blew every trumpet..” The text sits on white pages opposite large, richly colored illustrations. The moon appears in all of the paintings-as reassuring as the text’s sentiment. Golden musical notes float across the sky as white polar bears dance and giraffes sway to the sounds of the moon’s saxophone. The dark blue night skies make a beautiful and dramatic setting for this special night. The painterly art and poetic quality of the text make this an attractive book. Parents and grandparents are most likely to appreciate it, but they will undoubtedly want to share it with a child.
-Carolyn Janssen, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Looking Glass Review, August 31, 2005
“This wonderfully simple profound message of self esteem is one which far too few of our children hear.”
Parenting and Living, September 7, 2005
“Too often children are not told how special and wanted they are. This book is a must.”
Kirkus Reviews, October 2005
“A beautiful tribute to the uniqueness of every child.”