Today we celebrated with my cousin Amy whose first baby will arrive in August. She received Move! by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page, On the Day You Were Born Photo Journal by Debra Frasier (and inscribed for the baby by her), and Here Are My Hands by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault.
I give the last title to every baby. Every time I go to the Red Balloon Bookshop, I purchase another copy. Really. Sometimes they have to order copies for me. The young mom who swipes my card at the community center got one. My neighbor down the street received one. All the relatives get one. My school nurse will get one this week. It was not on the list in The Horn Book, but it is the best gift for baby showers.
The simple, sing-songy text is perfect for young ears. "Here are my hands for catching and throwing./Here are my feet for stopping and going." Children of all colors demonstrate the things hands, feet, heads, noses, eyes, ears, knees, necks, cheeks, teeth, elbows, arms, chins, and skin can do. Best of all, it was illustrated by Ted Rand, a man who became dear to me near the end of this life and whose wife Gloria (an author) is a cherished friend. Ted dedicated this work "To Gloria, Theresa, and Martin. From my hands to your hands." Each time I hold the book in my hands and give it to another set of hands, I think of Ted, Gloria, and their children, knowing how special books - and this one in particular - are to others.