Picture Book Review: The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin

A parent’s love for a child is immeasurable.  When we hold those little ones close to our hearts we wonder what their lives will hold, what things they will see and what choices they will make.  Emily Martin captures the warmth of the promise of childhood in her book The Wonderful Things You Will Be.

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The voice of the parent speaks comfort and advice to the child whose life is only just beginning.  What will the future hold?  Will he became a great explorer?  Will she tell amazing stories?  Will he change the world?  The possibilities are bound only by the expanse of the child’s imagination.

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The story is told in verse, typically two lines per page with the second and fourth lines in rhyme.  The effect is a soft lullaby perfect for cuddles and a story before bed.  The artwork pairs perfectly with the gentle cadence of the verse.  The paintings reminded me of the classic Little Golden Books from the 1940s and 1950s.  The delicate colors and smooth faces of the children echo the art of Mary Blair, the artist famous for her work with the Walt Disney Company as well as numerous children’s books in the last century.  Older readers will remember Blair’s illustrations from the Little Golden Books retelling of Disney’s classic animated movies such as Peter Pan and Cinderella.  Nostalgia permeates this book, taking readers back to a simpler time before modern technologies when a child’s imagination was enough to fill the entire day with fun and adventure.

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Martin’s book continues recent trends in representing children of various ethnicities throughout the book.  Skin tones vary from child to child as well hair styles and textures, although the artistic style of the babies remains consistent throughout the book.  The result is a classic tale with modern sensibilities.

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Young children will delight in the beautiful pictures and the whimsical verse.  Parents will love the touching tribute to childhood as well as the encouraging message for their growing child.  Each vignette blends fantasy and reality, capturing the true magic of childhood.  The Wonderful Things You Will Be is perfect for a night of fuzzy blankets, soft cuddles, and a beautiful book.  Highly recommended!

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