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Saturday, June 20, 2015

Wish, written and illustrated by Matthew Cordell. Disney-Hyperion, Hachette. 2015. $17.99 ages 4 and up

"Until one day
we are ready.

Ready for change,
Ready for surprise.

Ready for you.

We wish you were here."

Matthew Cordell's look at the wonder of parenthood is sure to be as appealing to parents as it is to the children who share it. It is a personal story, and beautifully told. On his blog (, he explains:

"All of these moments—the highs and the lows—create the full picture I wanted to make with WISH. I wanted to make a book for all families who have welcomed a baby and who know this crescendo. But I also wanted to make a book for families like mine who weren’t quite sure there would ever be a family. But through perseverance and courage and determination, and through one way or another, that baby was willed into their world. I hoped families who braved through questions and struggles of infertility and/or adoption would find this book. My hope was that these parents could read WISH with these children, and at the end say, “this book is about you. This is what we went through to meet you. Because you are our everything.”

The parent elephants are longing for a baby to make their 'wish' come true. They speak directly to the child who finally arrives, assuring that child of their boundless love, their wish fulfilled. It is a story that will ring true in many families where desire to have a family is a long and often arduous journey to a hopeful and happy ending.

Filled with the honest emotion that comes from personal experience, Matthew Cordell has penned and illustrated a story of wanting and waiting, of hopeful longing and unrelenting sadness until the joy felt with the arrival of 'you'.

"And with every feeling
that was ever felt,
everything happens.

That everything is you.
That everything is us.

                   You are here."

Mr. Cordell draws his characters and scenes with delicacy, in keeping with his heartfelt tale. Using bamboo pen and India ink with watercolor paints, he places his characters at the seaside. Pastel polka dots establish the action of wishing and keep the tone light when it needs to be for his young audience. The design is detailed, emotional and honest. Family is the focus, and children are at the heart of it.

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