You're Safe With Me
When the moon rises high and the stars twinkle, it is bedtime for the baby animals of the Indian forest. But tonight, when the skies turn dark and the night grows stormy, the little ones can't sleep. SWISH-SWISH! CRACK-TRACK! FLASH-SNAP! goes the storm. Only Mama Elephant with her words of wisdom can reassure them, "You're safe with me."
Age: 0 to 7
Number of Pages: 32
Publisher: Lerner Books
Author: Chitra Soundar
Dimensions: 9.5 x 0.5 x 9.5 inches
"It's late at night and the baby forest animals are about to go to sleep when the sounds of an approaching storm preclude their slumber. Mama Elephant gathers them in her trunk with the gentle refrain, 'you're safe with me.' While the babies whimper, Mama Elephant assures them that their fears are unfounded, reframing the scary noises as the necessary work of nature. The wailing wind, she calms them, 'is gentle as a breeze when all the work is done'; the thunder only loud because she's laden with rain that brings life; the rumbling river is only grumbling because she's hungry and will soon eat all the shadows in the forest. And thus, Mama Elephant quells the baby animals' fears. Bedtime fears are ancient concerns, and Mama Elephant's voice is timeless. Simultaneously culturally specific and universal, Soundar's eloquent narrative flows seamlessly through Mistry's breathtaking illustrations. Stylized, hand-drawn, and exquisitely detailed, these renditions of forest life fill every page with wonder, perfectly complementing the understated, lyrical whispers of Mama Elephant. Listeners will either be fast asleep by the end of the story, or wide awake, captivated by the art. A stunning, reassuring bedtime story."--starred, Booklist
"Motherly consolation meets folkloric Indian artwork in 'You're Safe With Me' (Lantana, 32 pages, $17.99), a picture book by Chitra Soundar with striking illustrations by Poonam Mistry. In its pages, sleepless baby animals rendered in dots, curving lines and geometric shapes fret at the sounds of a coming storm. 'Don't worry about the wind, ' Mama Elephant tells a baby monkey, a loris, a pangolin and a tiger cub. 'He's an old friend of the forest. He brings us seeds from faraway lands.' Then come thunder and lightning, and for each of these, too, Mama Elephant has an explanation that ends with the reassurance, 'You're safe with me.' Intricate patterns set against dark backgrounds evoke the spangle of constellations in the night sky in this tale for readers ages 2-5."--Wall Street Journal
"It's a dark and stormy night, with wind and thunder and lightning--even the river is rising up--and all the baby animals are scared. Mama Elephant, big and comforting and knowledgeable, tells the little ones about each source of their fear and assures them several times that 'You're safe with me.' When the baby animals whimper because of the wind, she patiently explains: 'He's an old friend of the forest. He brings us seeds from faraway lands.' When the loris asks about the thunder's noise, Mama Elephant takes the animals' fears away by telling them that Thunder is 'groaning from the weight of the rain.' In a little while 'she will turn as fluffy as cotton flowers.' She explains: 'Lightning sparkles in the sky when clouds collide.' The explanations are not meant to be scientific but rather poetic and comforting in a lullaby mode. The repetitive structure and lovely language are soothing, but it is the images that are outstanding. Although all the animals featured are found in India, the text is not based on a specific traditional tale, but the intricate, deeply colored digital images, formed with many dots and geometric shapes, evoke kalamkari textile techniques. With its short, rhythmic text and its rich, embellished, shiny pages with animals, flowers, and trees just waiting to be discovered, this is a reassuring yet inventive bedtime book."--Kirkus Reviews
"It's time for bed, but the dark, stormy sky prevents four baby animals--a monkey, a loris, a tiger and a pangolin--from finding sleep. Fortunately, Mama Elephant is passing by and notices their restlessness. As she rocks them with her trunk, she tells them, 'You're safe with me.' When they fret about the wind, she consoles them, 'He's an old friend of the forest. He brings us seeds from faraway lands.' And the thunder? It 'brings us water from the sea and makes this forest grow from scattered seeds.' The sound and sight of lightning, the rumble of the river--Mama Elephant has a soothing explanation and a 'You're safe with me' for everything.
Chitra Soundar's text has the rhythm of a song, with call-like verses and response-like 'You're safe with me' chorus. Poonam Mistry's illustrations in nighttime hues support the story's folkloric setting, giving the pages of You're Safe with Me the look of elaborate quilts in which geometric shapes are fused into emblems of the natural world; a frog, for one, looks as though it's embroidered out of circles, rectangles, triangles and ovals. Each spread is so densely packed--occasionally the text must bend to fit an illustration's contours--that some have a visual puzzle-like quality. As the four baby animals nestle in Mama Elephant's trunk, they assume a teardrop shape, and it's not clear where one ends and another begins--just right in a book about how, though we come from many different mothers, we're all in this together. Discover: Mama Elephant knows just what to say to soothe four animal babies unable to sleep."--starred, Shelf Awareness