Life / by Cynthia Rylant; illustrated by Brendan Wenzel. 2.5.2019

Beach Lane Books ISBN 9781481451628

PRI PS-Grade 3 Rating: *5

Life by Cynthia Rylant is a picture book view of many special facets of life and living.

Lovingly told across a series of marvelous pages, the story reminds readers that life begins small, and then grows–with stretches of wilderness, new roads to take, things to love and protect, and hope for each tomorrow. The author’s calming words are gentle and poetic, with some unexpected and lighthearted observations that will appeal to readers of all ages. “But the turtle loves life,” Rylant muses. “How could it not, with so much rain on its back?”

Brendan Wenzel’s illustrations are delightful. His wide-eyed animals have immediate personality and charm, and his scenes depict a beautiful world. The soft hues, varied perspective, and fine details in the artwork add a visual dimension that perfectly complements the heartwarming text. Even the weight and the texture of the pages are inviting.

Life appears to be a children’s book but is so much more. Readers of all ages and life stages could well appreciate its quieting and reassuring reflections and hopeful tone.

Nina Ditmar, CLJ