Elizabeth Edgeis an artist who illustrated the children's bookA Blessing from Above. After receiving her bachelor of fine arts degree from Auburn University in 1986, she got a job in advertising as a graphic designer, then went on to work as an artist and designer for the Southern Progress Corporation until 1995. Edge now creates commissioned paintings, including portraits and landscapes.
K-Gr 2-This sentimental picture book, which begins and ends with New Testament Scripture, is about a mother kangaroo that prays for a baby. Seeing other animals with their young only intensifies her longing. When a baby bird falls out of an overcrowded nest and lands in the kangaroo's pouch, she hugs her "blessing from above" and decides to raise it as her own. There are several problems with this adoption story. Apart from the questionable circumstance of the mother bird being delighted to have a chick for which she has no room adopted, or calling a childless kangaroo "Momma-Roo," Henderson's story has the wrong focus for the intended audience. It is not on the youngster being adopted, but on the mother and her desires. Edge's watercolor and pen-and-ink cartoon illustrations depict a tranquil countryside complete with blooming flowers, ducks on a lake, and a large willow tree-hardly the environment in which to find a kangaroo. Jamie Lee Curtis's Tell Me Again about the Night I Was Born (HarperCollins, 1996) is a far more suitable, child-centered choice.-Marianne Saccardi, Norwalk Community-Technical College, CT
"Once upon a time there lived a mother kangaroo who had an empty pouch," begins this earnest tale of adoption, the first by the author (the mother of two adopted sons) and the artist (an adoptee). As Momma-Roo sits under a tree, imagining what it would be like to show her own little one the sights and sounds of the forest, a baby bluebird tumbles out of a crowded nest and falls into her pouch. The mother bluebird "knew her nest was not big enough for all her chicks," and is glad to let an elated Momma-Roo have the tiniest nestling. Momma-Roo and Little One frolic in the forest, and every night they "thank God for all their blessings... especially for each other." Very young children will probably be satisfied with the simply resolved plot and the delicate prettiness of the watercolor illustrations, but adoptive parents may wonder if a trans-species adoption is the most appropriate analogy, and adopted children may wish that the perspectives here were not only those of the two mothers. While a general sense of faith suffuses the book, the story concludes with a quote from Ephesians ("In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ"), limiting the audience to Christians. Ages 3-7. (Jan.)