Exploration and Inquisition
By Jill Esbaum; pictures by Jen Corace
Last month, if you wanted to take Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction to the bank, then it seems we are in for an early spring this year.
So, in that vein, Jill Esbaum’s picture book about a hatchling chick is right on time.
In spring new life abounds in nature, both in the animal world and the human one.
A friend of mine recently had a baby, so I readily identified with this picture book that makes the easy jump in comparisons between the chick that is newly hatched – and a newborn.
Each, whether babe or born free chick, is filled with, as the flyleaf says, feelings of being:
awe, and I-can’t help- myself
Just how do new parents keep up with these bundles of energy and the constant
changes that ensue on a daily basis? That itself is a miracle of nature, almost as miraculous as birth!
Most first-time parents, and I include myself in this group some 40 years ago, exhibit a combination of feelings of joy, coupled with equal amounts of terror.
Whether it’s chicks or children, new additions open our hearts and minds to new feelings of wonder, gazing at this new creation, who is in turn gazing at their new landscape called life.
And so does our new hatchling, in his first venture outside:
Hoo-boy, that shell was getting tight.
I shake myself.
Look left. Look right.
I feel my legs, all folded up.
They’re wobbly. Will they hold me…?
And here and there, amid this chick narrative, are loads of other young’uns and moms in this natural springtime world. Artist, Jen Corace, has given young readers an eye-catching bunch of hidden and hovering bunnies, turtles gophers, frogs, crickets, and snails, as an array of onlooking nature denizens overseeing the chicks fun of discovery.
And, Ms. Esbaum does not sidestep the more alimentary canal functions that must be addressed, and do emerge, on a
regular basis with chicks and children:
I stop because…look out below!
Something’s falling from my…
Here’s a shocker. Please don’t stare.
but take a peek…
I’m ORANGE down there!
Maybe just a wee bit more info than readers needed to know about a chick’s digestive function, but still very real in its addressing of the realities of baby.. er… chick rearing!
And Ms. Esbaum has even opened up the subject of new siblings supplanting the first born as:
Welcome, welcome, sister dear!
Lucky you – I beat you here!
Tomorrow morning, off we’ll go.
I’ll teach you all you need to know:
We’ll run and play and eat and sing.
Don’t worry, I know EVERYTHING!
To young readers and their parents: it’s all good and both the siblings and you are on a learning curve. So relax, live in those moments that are brief and sometimes breathtakingly hectic.
Though some days may be better than others, you are privileged to “see” all the firsts along with your “chick.”
Chickies and children have been depicted with a sweet realism here that is portrayed with a cheery and chug along energy by Jill Esbaum’s words melded effortlessly with Jen Corace’s aqua blue suffused images.
It’s all good, mom and dads!