Written by Paola Quintavalle
Illustrated by Alessandro Sanna

Crescendo is a visual and poetic celebration of the transition to motherhood, featuring 47 gorgeous watercolor illustrations from Alessandro Sanna (The River, Pinocchio: An Origin Story) and a corresponding poem by Paola Quintivalle. Sanna’s illustrations follow the transformation of a mother’s shape throughout her pregnancy, artfully and gracefully delineated not only by images of a mother’s profile, but by rich, sweeping scenes from nature: the curved wingspan of a seagull in flight, the arc of a whale’s tail as she swims with her calves, the peaks of verdant, moonlit hills, among others. At last, there is an image of a mother embracing her newborn child, at once lilting and reverent—a vision of joy and rest at the culmination of an incredible inward journey. Quintivalle's poem, written as a response to Sanna’s illustrations, weaves delicately throughout the book. An ode to mothers everywhere, Crescendo is a book to share and to treasure.

ISBN: 978-1-59270-255-8
7" (W) x 7" (H) • 104 pages • HC

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“Sublime.” —Kirkus Reviews

"Addressed directly to an unborn child, this luminous Italian import presents a fetus's in-utero growth with whimsy and sophistication. . . . Young children won't need to understand the meaning in every line to appreciate this original offering, which brims with warmth, love, and wonder." —Publishers Weekly

”Visual metaphors drawing on the lives of other beings — a bird, a horse, a flower, a school of fish — populate Sanna’s watercolor score of Quintavalle’s spare, poetic chronicle of becoming, their geometry cleverly mirroring the curvature of the mother’s belly that frames the story.” —Maria Popova, Brain Pickings

"A charming, heartfelt story about the stages of development and the undeniable love of a mother." —Powell's Books (Portland, OR)

“Is there a picture book out there that better marries art and science? Sanna seems to be working in watercolor with a brush dipped in celestial light and fairy dust, and yet Crescendo is deeply scientific. Quintavalle has loaded her pen not with sunshine and moonglow but with information about human gestation; her narrative, utterly faithful to the stages of embryotic and fetal growth, concludes with the section "Developmental Facts That Inspired the Text." Crescendo is a book that belongs on multiple shelves in the kids' section of a bookstore or library, but the truth is, it wouldn't be out of place in an adult's collection.” —Shelf Awareness, Nell Beram, freelance writer and YA author

”A gracefully beautiful and thoroughly 'kid friendly' picture book, ‘Crescendo’ is appropriate for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.” —Midwest Book Review

”A poetic tribute to motherhood and the miracle that is birth.” —Michelle Sterling, Avery and Augustine

"While there are many ways to become a mother, art and nature mingle in this celebration of gestation—where each month, phase and trimester of pregnancy is depicted through immersive watercolor spreads. Unlike anything you've seen before, this joyous book is worth savoring and paying particular attention to the negative space. And yes, it would make a splendid keepsake gift for any expectant mother." —Miranda Rosbach, My Book Bloom

”This warm and whimsical book is a perfect gift for mums and mums-to-be. …Heartwarming and joyful!” —Emma C, NewSouth Books


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