Utterly Lovely One

Overview

Tender, playful, and full of joy, this ode from mother to child makes an utterly lovely baby gift and will resonate with readers big and small.

Oh, my Yummy One, my Utterly Lovely One!
Look at you, so gorgeous!

So opens a glorious praise song from a parent crane to her little cranelet — drawing many other species into the circle of love as she sings. Warm, funny, and full of ...

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Overview

Tender, playful, and full of joy, this ode from mother to child makes an utterly lovely baby gift and will resonate with readers big and small.

Oh, my Yummy One, my Utterly Lovely One!
Look at you, so gorgeous!

So opens a glorious praise song from a parent crane to her little cranelet — drawing many other species into the circle of love as she sings. Warm, funny, and full of energy and affection, this is another gem from Mary Murphy, whose springlike palette is well suited to the story's celebratory air.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
“You know, my Yummy One, the world is full of utterly lovely ones,” a spindly-legged blue crane tells her baby as they view the array of animals that surround them. In a syrupy monologue, she explains why each creature is “utterly lovely” (“ust look at Baby Elephant! That wonderful nose... those kind gentle eyes”), including a jungle bird, a shy armadillo, and a crocodile “with a grin that takes up his whole head.” The crane’s observations lack substance or humor, and sometimes simply miss the mark (“Numbat is so nice that wherever she goes, everyone feels good just because she is there”). Murphy’s (Panda Foo and the New Friend) cheery mixed-media art gives the story some needed oomph, injecting the characters with personality, and should prove eye-catching to very young readers. The repetitious narrative drags on, though, as the birds hop from creature to creature, concluding with a final expression of maternal love. Murphy creates a safe, conflict-free jungle habitat, reassuring children that in a world of strange but lovely things, they remain the loveliest in the eyes of their parents. Ages 4–8. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
The springtime feeling of UTTERLY LOVELY ONE comes from Mary Murphy's combination of comical animals, deliciously Easter-eggy colors and endearingly affirmative writing. This confection...positively demands that you cuddle the small child to whom you are reading it.
—Wall Street Journal

Infused with warmth and affection, much like the sound of a mother's voice. A nice choice to share at bedtime or cuddled close, this provides a good introduction to animal babies for the youngest children, who will recognize the differing fledglings as being not unlike themselves.
—Kirkus Reviews

Children's Literature - Peg Glisson
A fluffy blue crane introduces her "utterly lovely one" to the other utterly lovely creatures in their habitat. Among them are fancy, fabulous frilled lizard, baby elephant with kind, gentle eyes, careful snail and flashy dragonfly, quiet, loud laughing jungle bird, playful monkeys, and handsome crocodile. Each is special, in its own way. Murphy occasionally drifts from physical characteristics to anthropomorphism with words such as nice or shy. The repetitive text is a bit sweet as it lyrically sings the praises of each animal, but it does convey the mother's affection for her baby and her fondness for and appreciation of those living around them. Murphy's perky, pastel illustrations are a combination of ink, watercolor, and digital art. The text has been hand-lettered by her. Both convey light and movement. Children will enjoy exploring each page, searching for repeating animals and insects. American readers may not be familiar with frilly lizard, numbat, and bush baby, but the illustrations have enough detail to provide a basic understanding. Murphy has created a safe, comfortable place for her baby, a place full of love, wonder and discovery. While this would work best as a one-to-one lap read, complete with hugs and snuggles, it would also work with a small group of toddlers. Reviewer: Peg Glisson
School Library Journal
PreS—A big blue bird croons to her baby, calling it "Yummy One" and "Utterly Lovely One." She then goes on to rhapsodize about how "utterly lovely" various other young animals are, from the specific (elephant) to the vague (jungle bird). Oddly, the mothers of these other babies are never shown. There is no particular story line, just the sickeningly sweet, over-the-top enthusiasm of the mother bird and the repetition of the tongue-tripping phrase "utterly lovely." The quirky, bright cartoon illustrations, while cheerful, do nothing to help this story rise above the pedestrian. The field of mama-loves-baby books is already crowded; libraries can safely pass on this undistinguished addition.—Heidi Estrin, Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL
Kirkus Reviews
There are many lovely babies in the world, but only one belongs to Mama… A mother bird lovingly introduces her child to various creatures, great and small, in this paean to baby animals of the Australian variety. All are "utterly lovely" and unique in one way or another; Frilled Lizard is "perky even in the midday sun"; Elephant has gentle eyes and a wonderful nose; Snail is "slow and careful"; and Crocodile has "a grin that takes up his whole head." Most animals have their own spreads, and while the descriptions focus on the animal's attributes, they sometimes branch out to anthropomorphism. Armadillo, for example, is "usually so shy… [but] suddenly brave enough to make friends." All is safe, comforting and positive in this pastel-hued animal world. American readers may not be familiar with numbats or bush babies, but the simple ink-and-watercolor illustrations show the right amount of detail to provide a visual and pique children's interests. Though the text feels a bit cloying at times and is occasionally overwhelmed by the use of exclamation marks, it is infused with warmth and affection, much like the sound of a mother's voice. A nice choice to share at bedtime or cuddled close, this provides a good introduction to animal babies for the youngest children, who will recognize the differing fledglings as being not unlike themselves. (Picture book. 1-4)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763652678
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 2/14/2012
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,442,642
  • Age range: 2 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.70 (w) x 11.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Murphy is the author-illustrator of Panda Foo and the New Friend, I Kissed the Baby!, and How Kind! She lives in Galway, Ireland.
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