HELLO MOM

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From genetic formation (“DNA strands combining…Chromosomes click / into place, / Designing my blueprint”) to her debut as a newborn, a fetus chronicles her experience using descriptive imagery and expressive language. The fetus discusses complex cellular processes that facilitate growth, such as how cells divide, multiply, change shape, connect, and rearrange: “Stitching and knitting, / Carefully connecting me top to bottom.” As the gestation period progresses, a “sacred symphony” occurs when the fetus’s “heart starts ticking.” Soon, physical features form, including a spine and limbs. Blood pumps through veins, and nerves tingle. Brain cells construct “pathways, / Growing future thoughts.” The text is interspersed with sentiments from the narrator to her mother: “Hello Mom, I had the hiccups today. I heard you laugh.”As the fetus becomes bigger, the “senses are awakening.” She can breathe and swallow. With “arms and legs curled up tight, / Pushing and kicking,” she relies on instinct to guide her. Soon, the baby girl faces her beaming mother. Utilizing active, rhythmic language (“Cells swirl and scatter, / Then whirl and settle”), Grimbeek offers educational insights into biological events. The narrator’s explanations here will be most suitable for families experiencing pregnancy. Some of the author’s illustrations feature black-and-white anatomical images reminiscent of ultrasounds and X-rays. Others include realistic portrayals of the fetus’s changing appearance and the newborn in glowing shades of pink, orange, and purple.

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