Some children’s books are admittedly more memorable for grown-ups, but that doesn’t need to be so bad. Lisa Desimini’s and Matt Mahurin’s My Beautiful Child appears to cover much of the same territory as Margaret Wise Brown’s The Important Book from sixty years ago - “how sweet a strawberry is… and how the rain can tickle your face… and how shadows will follow you wherever you go…” - still make no mistake, there are always parents in the margins of these pictures: watching, enabling, in work clothes, their papers scattering to the winds. Or pointing. Or holding an umbrella. Or waiting in the driver’s seat on the side of the road.
It’s a weird sort of accommodation, but it works - at least between the covers of this book. We are all familiar with the type of children’s stories - and museum exhibits and tourist attractions and popular entertainment - which attempt to wring interest from multiple levels of sophistication, though as often as not these tend to consist of winking pop references that are only really funny because we get them, and maudlin, secondhand sentiments that probably wouldn’t seem so compelling if they weren’t be issued from a giraffe. Most of us know pandering when we see it, and most of us no longer seem to mind.
Yet it’s not entirely clear if the gaps between our respective amusements as parents and children are otherwise so unbridgeable as all that - or anyway that is the consolation that a couple years’ amateur sleuthing turns up. Please have a look around. This doesn’t always need to be so selfless, I hope. Boy, what a drag that would probably be to roll out of bed one fine morning in the future, and realize you were the only one who didn’t grow up.