"In the dark,
in the dark,
in the deep, deep dark,
a speck floated,"
and so begins an amazing story that spans from the beginning of the universe to the birth of a beloved child. The text is deeply descriptive and poetic as it describes the "BANG!" and everything that follows. First is the collision of matter within clouds of gas, then there are stars, explosions, and the gradual formation of planets. Then come the mitochondria (I feel the presence of Meg and Charles Wallace when I see that word), and daisies. And eventually there is another speck, "invisible as dreams, special as Love." A speck that grows and becomes a child that can take "a big breath of the same air once breathed by woolly mammoths."
The illustrations by Ekua Holmes capture the beauty and power of the text in amazing hand-marbled paper and collage. The beginning shows the white speck in the vast emptiness of black, grey, and dark purple. The first instant of change fills the page with a violent splash of color in the midst of a yellowy orange like the summer sun. When Marion writes of stars "flinging stardust everywhere," Ekua fills the spread with a fireworks display of reds, oranges, and yellows fanning out. And when we read about - "the singing whales, the larks, the frogs" - we see those shapes circling around a greenish blue ball that seems to be the planet we all share. We are all of us "the stuff of stars."
This book is something that readers of all ages can enjoy. Youngsters may be captivated by the lyrical phrases and the amazing colors, reading and rereading as they look for images of lions and larks. Older students may use this as a mentor text in how to write descriptive phrases that capture the imagination and inspire the reader. Art classes can marvel at the complex arrangement of the elements and the color choices used to mirror the words so well.
It will also become one of those books that are a go-to gift for baby showers, and perhaps graduation gifts. Who wouldn't be flattered to have their bundle of joy compared to the magnificence of that very first speck of possibility floating in the cosmos? And what graduate wouldn't love to feel the power of knowing they are a being made of stardust?
I was fortunate enough to receive a copy of the book for review purposes and everyone I know will hear all about it. Highly recommended for all readers!