FICTION

Hello, I'm Here!

Hello, I'm Here! photos by Rick Lieder. 32p. Candlewick. Apr. 2019. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763698584.
COPY ISBN
PreS-Gr 2—A sandhill crane chick encounters the world. This author-illustrator pair have teamed up for a number of beautiful celebrations of the natural world, but this might be the most enchanting one yet. Striking photographs taken in the marshy world where cranes nest accompany Frost's short poem. Lieder's close-up images show very young crane chicks and their caring parents. They capture expressive poses and remarkable details: the newly hatched chick's long feet are wildly out of proportion to the rest of its fluffy body, its legs are wrinkled, and water drips off wet, clumped down. The narrative opens with a title page image of a crane on its nest in the marsh already talking to the chicks in their eggs. Back matter tells readers that there are usually two chicks, one slightly bigger than the other, and sure enough, in the poem, the just-hatched chick finds his brother (appearing after an artful page turn). There's gentle mention of threats and food. In a spread that might most remind adult readers of toddler behavior, the chick seems to stretch his neck to watch and wonder at adult cranes flying. The home-away-from-home narrative arc ends perfectly with a nap on "Mama's strong wings." These simple abcb quatrains scan beautifully—a good thing, since this will likely be requested over and over.
VERDICT Perfectly matched text and images make this a grand entrance.

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