In Every Life

S. & S./Beach Lane. Feb. 2023. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781665912488.
PreS-Gr 1–This book is a meditation on gratitude, full of intricate symbolism. Frazee explains in a note that she was inspired by a “call-and-response version of a Jewish baby-naming blessing” she heard at a Christian church decades ago. The text is made up of seven lines, all but the last composed of seven words each. Seven is a significant number in Judaism, and structuring the text in this way is a subtle acknowledgement of that faith tradition. Each of the seven lines is presented on a spread with a series of small illustrations, vignettes that represent each idea. Following each is a wordless spread featuring a sprawling landscape peopled by small figures. Each line has a thematic color, and the palettes of the wordless spreads combine the colors to link the concepts. The pages of the first line, “In every birth, blessed is the wonder,” are suffused with a soft pink. The following spread shows a family gazing at the sky, a baby pointing to the fluffy pink clouds that slowly bleed into yellow, the color of the second line: “In every smile, blessed is the light.” The overall mood is slow, steady, and soothing. The combination of the spiritual words and the prosaic moments alternating with grand panoramas bestows a magnitude to the minutiae of the everyday. The characters are diverse in every sense of the word, representing a myriad of families and lived experiences. While the book’s brevity is appropriate for a read-aloud, children will want to examine the illustrations closely.
VERDICT Simultaneously simple and majestic, this benediction of a book is recommended for first purchase.

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