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We Wanted You

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The loving voices of a child's parents tell the story of an adoption, from waiting to meet the baby for the first time through the growth of a family. Peter Catalanotto's vibrant illustrations form a clever and dramatic counterpoint to the text: presented as a series of family snapshots, the images run backward in time.

Parents tell how they waited and prepared for the child that they wanted so much.

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Overview

The loving voices of a child's parents tell the story of an adoption, from waiting to meet the baby for the first time through the growth of a family. Peter Catalanotto's vibrant illustrations form a clever and dramatic counterpoint to the text: presented as a series of family snapshots, the images run backward in time.

Parents tell how they waited and prepared for the child that they wanted so much.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
School Library Journal

A poetic text and Catalanotto's glowing illustrations distinguish this book on adoption. . . . Although there are quite a few good books on this subject for parents to use with their children, this one is a lovely choice.

Publishers Weekly

With a simple, poetic elegance befitting her tender subject matter, Rosenberg taps into the feelings of longing, love and joy that accompany the adoption of a child. Catalanotto's images create an effective subplot: on the occasion of their son's graduation from high school, a couple reminisces about the boy they embraced as part of their family even before he was born. The author creates a warm story of one family's experience, yet incorporates accessible explanations of adoption applicable to many situations ("Somewhere in the world a mother gave birth to you, a father gave life to you. We weren't your first father and mother"; "One day we got a telephone call telling us to come. For you"). Working within the emotional rhythms of this heartfelt trip down Memory Lane, Catalanotto presents a series of radiant paintings that form a kind of treasured photo album. With a combination of contemporary and timeless background details, he depicts young Enrique as an infant being rocked to sleep by his father, a beaming boy at the beach and, ultimately, as a proud young man washing his car and heading off to college. A welcome addition to the canon of picture books on the subject.

Publishers Weekly
With a simple, poetic elegance befitting her tender subject matter, Rosenberg (Monster Mama) taps into the feelings of longing, love and joy that accompany the adoption of a child. Catalanotto's (Emily's Art; Dad and Me) images create an effective subplot: on the occasion of their son's graduation from high school, a couple reminisces about the boy they embraced as part of their family even before he was born. The author creates a warm story of one family's experience, yet incorporates accessible explanations of adoption applicable to many situations ("Somewhere in the world a mother gave birth to you, a father gave life to you. We weren't your first father and mother"; "One day we got a telephone call telling us to come. For you"). Working within the emotional rhythms of this heartfelt trip down Memory Lane, Catalanotto presents a series of radiant paintings that form a kind of treasured photo album. With a combination of contemporary and timeless background details, he depicts young Enrique as an infant being rocked to sleep by his father, a beaming boy at the beach and, ultimately, as a proud young man washing his car and heading off to college. A welcome addition to the canon of picture books on the subject. Ages 5-9. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
The young life of a boy and his transition to manhood is captured beautifully here in the affecting illustrations of this new adoption picture book. This poignant tale of parents waiting for their son is rendered in simple, direct prose. The story conveys the powerful connection that these family members have developed with each other over the years of their son's boyhood. Impressionist-like paintings of Enrique's arrival, his case of the measles, fishing trips, birthday parties, graduation and other milestones all pass by as his parents tell their story of longing for a child and becoming a family. Interestingly, the milestones are not in sequence. So, for example, the reader sees Enrique washing his car on the first page and as a young birthday boy on the second. The unusual sequencing of illustrations works well with the text. It shows how a parent might reminisce about some important events in his or her child's life. The child must know and feel that he belongs because, his parents say, "We were yours all along. We wanted you so much back then. And we still do." 2002, Roaring Brook Press/The Millbrook Press, $23.90 and $16.95. Ages 3 to 8. Reviewer: Jeanne K. Pettenati AGES: 3 4 5 6 7 8
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-Beginning "From the moment you were born-and even before that moment-we knew we wanted you," a poetic text and Catalanotto's glowing illustrations distinguish this book on adoption. As the parents explain how they waited and searched and hoped for Enrique, the illustrations show the boy during several milestones of his life, beginning with his high school graduation on the title page and moving back through his life with his adoptive parents: catching the school bus, getting measles, fishing with his father. Text and art work perfectly together; the pictures show the child getting younger and younger as the text culminates with the parents receiving their baby and ending, "We wanted you so much, back then. And we still do." The endpaper shows Enrique entering a new stage of his life: college. Although there are quite a few good books on this subject for parents to use with their children, this one is a lovely choice.-Judith Constantinides, formerly at East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Rosenberg (Roots and Flowers, 2001, etc.) and Catalanotto (The Dream Shop, 2002, etc.) team up to create a love letter from a mother and father as their adopted son heads off to college. Unfortunately, while the sophisticated blend of words and images may spark discussion, it is likely to present more questions than it answers, especially for younger children. To begin with, Catalanotto's realistic illustrations, which add a back-story not evident in Rosenberg's spare text, are disorienting. The title spread shows a teenager in cap and gown; the final spread shows the young man in a college dorm in front of a banner that reads "Welcome Freshmen." And it's only in the end that the child's name and ethnicity are clearly revealed: a party scene shows the proud white parents holding the brown-skinned infant; behind them, a sign reads, "We Love You, Enrique!" Interior illustrations, presented in reverse chronological order, portray memorable moments in the child's life. Along the way, Rosenberg conveys the parents' longing, the anticipation and preparation that precedes the child's arrival, and the events that unfold when the baby is finally born. After a phone call delivers news of the baby's birth, Rosenberg writes, "And so we came. We flew! / Because that's how much we wanted you." Then, addressing the birth parents: "Somewhere in the world a / mother gave birth to you / a father gave life to you / We weren't your first father/ and mother." Considering the title, this unassuming passage carries insensitive undertones and flies in the face of positive adoption language. An unsatisfactory addition to the adoption oeuvre. (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761315971
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2002
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.06 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 0.36 (d)

Meet the Author

Liz Rosenberg

Liz Rosenberg, distinguished author, poet, and professor of children's literature, lives in Binghamton, New York. Her second book for Roaring Brook Press is On Christmas Eve.

Peter Catalanotto is a widely admired author and illustrator, whose second book for Roaring Brook Press is Happy Birthday America! He lives in southeastern Pennsylvania.

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