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Blueberry Girl

Blueberry Girl

4.2 23
by Neil Gaiman, Charles Vess (Illustrator)

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This is a prayer for a blueberry girl . . .

A much-loved baby grows into a young woman: brave, adventurous, and lucky. Exploring, traveling, bathed in sunshine, surrounded by the wonders of the world. What every new parent or parent-to-be dreams of for her child, what every girl dreams of for herself.

Let me go places that we've never been, trust and


This is a prayer for a blueberry girl . . .

A much-loved baby grows into a young woman: brave, adventurous, and lucky. Exploring, traveling, bathed in sunshine, surrounded by the wonders of the world. What every new parent or parent-to-be dreams of for her child, what every girl dreams of for herself.

Let me go places that we've never been, trust and delight in her youth.

Nationally bestselling author Neil Gaiman wrote Blueberry Girl for a friend who was about to become the mother of a little girl. Here, he and beloved illustrator Charles Vess turn this deeply personal wish for a new daughter into a book that celebrates the glory of growing up: a perfect gift for girls embarking on all the journeys of life, for their parents, and for everyone who loves them.

Give her all these and a little bit more, gifts for a blueberry girl.

Editorial Reviews

“An enchanting lullaby poem brought to life by magical paintings for mothers and daughters (whatever their ages).”
Cookie Magazine
“It is astonishingly lovely.”
Publishers Weekly

In a magical blessing for unconventional girls, Gaiman (The Graveyard Book) addresses the "ladies of light and ladies of darkness and ladies of never-you-mind," asking them to shelter and guide an infant girl as she grows. "Help her to help herself,/ help her to stand,/ help her to lose and to find./ Teach her we're only as big as our dreams./ Show her that fortune is blind." Sinuous, rococo lines-the flowing hair, drooping boughs, winding paths that inspired the pre-Raphaelites-spread their tendrils throughout Vess's (The Ladies of Grace Adieu) full-bleed spreads, potent mixtures of the charms of Arthur Rackham, Maxfield Parrish and Cecily Barker's flower fairies. An Art Nouveau-ish font in a blueberry color compounds the sense of fantasy. On each page a different girl-short, tall, white, brown, younger, older-runs or jumps or swims, accompanied by animals meant to guard and protect her. Fans of Gaiman and Vess will pounce on this creation; so too will readers who seek for their daughters affirmation that sidesteps traditional spiritual conventions. All ages. (Mar.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Mary Hynes-Berry
Gaiman's Blueberry Girl might be best described as a praise song for the newborn daughter of a friend. A series of wishes for the kind of woman the child will become are addressed to female spirits, a bit reminiscent of the fairies in Sleeping Beauty. The wishes are very much in line with 21st-century perceptions of women as proactive and highly competent residents in a complex world. He prays, for example, that the spirits will "Help her help herself, help her to stand, help her to lose and to find. Teach her that we are only big as our dreams. Show her fortune is blind." The text swirls around the land and sea creatures, plant life and a rainbow of girls/women shown on each page. The tone of Vess's illustrations suggests the world of science fiction/fantasy, with which Gaiman is associated. This book could easily become a favorite gift, not just for newborn baby girls but for strong females of any age. Reviewer: Mary Hynes-Berry
School Library Journal

PreS Up

Gaiman and Vess worked together on Stardust (HarperCollins, 2000), the award-winning fantasy that became a film in 2007. One can count on them for a fresh approach to the conventions of a genre. This New Age "prayer" for a yet-to-be-born child is no exception, although the combination of a picture-book format with concepts that require adult understanding may cause confusion or boredom in youngsters ("Keep her from..../Nightmares at three or bad husbands at thirty,/.... Dull days at forty, false friends at fifteen-"). Visually, the book also struggles with a split personality. One scene, in which animals peer at a girl in jeans and dreadlocks, is rendered in watercolor, defined by clean outlines, for a contemporary, realistic look. Another view of naked babies sleeping in flower petals is created with a hazy focus, calling to mind Jessie Willcox Smith or Elsa Beskow's Peter in Blueberry Land (Floris, 1988). The dedication indicates that this poem was written for a pregnant friend; it seeks to ward off all sorts of fairy-tale trouble: "Ladies of light and ladies of darkness and ladies of never-you-mind.... Keep her from spindles and sleeps at sixteen/Let her stay waking and wise." The "ladies" are draped in clouds and cloaks, sunsets and rainbows. The racial characteristics, hair color, and age of the girl change from page to page, presumably for an "everygirl" effect. This may resonate with people purchasing baby presents, as Seuss's Oh, the Places You'll Go! (Random, 1990) strikes a chord at graduation. The card, however, should read "Mother."-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library

Kirkus Reviews
A rich and beautiful prayer for a girl. "Ladies of light and ladies of darkness and ladies of never-you-mind, / This is a prayer for a blueberry girl." Three women in flowing robes-the appropriately mythological Maiden, Mother and Crone-float in the sky over a small, dancing child trailed by numerous birds of the air. Free her from "nightmares at three or bad husbands at thirty," let her run and dance and grow, teach her and help her find her own truth. The verse is lovely, sinuous and sweetly rhyming, piling on blessings. Vess's precise line-and-color illustrations fill each spread with velvet colors and the iconography of myths and fairy tales, a good match to fantasist Gaiman's words. Plants, animals, sun and meadow appear in elegantly drawn detail, their realism tempered by floating trees and magical flowers. The girl transforms from stanza to stanza and spread to spread, blond or burnished, child or nearly teen. There is nothing cute or cloying here, just beauty, balance and joy. (Picture book. 4-8)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
9.80(w) x 9.70(h) x 0.30(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Neil Gaiman is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Neverwhere, Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, Anansi Boys, The Graveyard Book, Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett), The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains; the Sandman series of graphic novels; and the story collections Smoke and Mirrors, Fragile Things, and Trigger Warning. He is the winner of numerous literary honors, including the Hugo, Bram Stoker, and World Fantasy awards, and the Newbery and Carnegie Medals. Originally from England, he now lives in the United States. He is Professor in the Arts at Bard College.

Charles Vess's work has graced the pages of numerous publications and has been exhibited internationally. Some of his other books include Blueberry Girl by Neil Gaiman, a circle of cats and Seven Wild Sisters with Charles de Lint, a new edition of Peter Pan, and The Ladies of Grace Adieu with Susanna Clarke. His awards include a Mythopoeic, Ink Pot, two Chesley, two World Fantasy, and two Eisner awards.

Brief Biography

Minneapolis, Minnesota
Date of Birth:
November 10, 1960
Place of Birth:
Portchester, England
Attended Ardingly College Junior School, 1970-74, and Whitgift School, 1974-77

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Blueberry Girl 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
KindergartenTeacher66 More than 1 year ago
Cleverly written to illustrate the transformation from girl to woman, Blueberry Girl is sure to be a classic read for teens and parents of teen daughters. Thought-provoking and inspirational. Dare to grow, you won't regret it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautifully illustrated book to accompany a beautiful poem about the desires a mother has for her daughter. A great book for both mothers and daughters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This lovely poem is beautifully illustrated, and makes a great gift for a new baby or even for a graduate.
JEBurk More than 1 year ago
Picked this book up on a whim because I am a fan of Gaiman's other work and it was love at first sight. The illustrations were lovely and showed a diversity of beautiful, strong, young girls as the title 'blueberry girl'. It plays perfectly to Gaiman's strengths of questioning received wisdom and creating a new mythology for a contemporary age, a mythology that draws on historic roots but which looks boldly toward a better future.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just had my first child 4 months ago, a daughter. I bought this book for her, although she is a little young for it, she loves the pictures. I love the messages throughout the book, my wishes for her throughout life's journey.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mankell-Slueth More than 1 year ago
I gave this to my 15-year-old who just finished her first year of high school and is learning to drive. She has always been my "pumpkin-pie girl" so she really related to this story...just reinforces my hope and dream that she be a healthy, happy, independent thinking young lady.
Juele More than 1 year ago
This is every parent's wish for their daughter. I think the book says it all.
FaerieGirl79 More than 1 year ago
I've been a fan of Neil's work for quite sometime, and though this is a little different from what some may be used to from Neil, it's just as wonderful! The story was writted for Tori Amos' daughter, and I cried the first time I read the book. I've since read it to my 6 yr old niece, and she loved it. This book is a great gift for those who appreciate the gifts that life give us...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Neil Gaiman's sometimes humorous, very true "prayer" reminds both mother and daughter that strong girls become strong women and encourages independence and strength. I gave it my friend with a new daughter and I sent it to my own daughter who is 28.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
mncat More than 1 year ago
Exactly what one would expect from Neil Gaiman -- a real parent's hopes and dreams for a daughter. Lyrical, touching, a little edgy, marvelous.
tkdiaz More than 1 year ago
A marvelous bit of bedtime poetry, and a lovely prayer for our daughters by Neil Gaiman. Not in the least bit creepy, but not at all saccharine. Excellent book.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Prayers to ladies of darkness are strange content for children's literature. Both story and illustrations are ominous and creepy. Would you really want to say a prayer to help your child lose? The world is dark enough without disheartening messages to children. I got this book for my daughter and will not read it to her again. I hope she learns to rely on God, not on herself and ladies of never you mind.