lmnop blog sign up
Benjamin’s Books: Blueberry Girl by Neil Gaiman
Blueberry girl is a poem by Neil Gaiman that he wrote for his friend Tori Amos and her daughter Tash, who she was pregnant with at the time. It is a wonderful, simple piece that implores the powers that be to watch over this newborn girl and shield her from all the bad things that life can produce, and guide her in the direction of all that is beautiful and good.
The language is direct and evocative and is a testament to Gaiman’s extraordinary abilities as a writer. Having proven himself as a gifted storyteller in any format with his body of work, from comics to children’s books to ‘adult’ sci-fi and fantasy novels, it is perhaps no surprise that Blueberry Girl reveals Gaiman to be just as thoughtful and expressive as a poet too. With this one short piece, he lays out a path for a life of complete fulfilment, and in doing so makes us all realise how truly wonderful life can, and ought to be.
Providing a perfect accompaniment to the words are the tender illustrations by fantasy artist Charles Vess. His Blueberry Girl is shown through all guises of childhood, and though she may look different on each page and vary in age her free-spirited nature, exemplified by her carefree, toddler-like gait, is consistently evident throughout. She is not one girl but all girls, and following her throughout are the representatives of the natural world: rabbits, owls, tortoises and whales to name just a few. The colours are joyous, and there is a movement in the images that leaves the reader with the peculiar sense that they are watching a dance. The images are only lightly detailed, giving them a dream-like quality so as never to detract or take over from the words of the poem, to assist the imagination rather than instruct.
Blueberry Girl is a unique picture book that is at once wise, touching and life-affirming. As a gift to an expecting mother of a girl, and as a keepsake to the girl as she grows up it is unmatched. Because of its hopefulness and sincerity as a pure celebration of girlhood it has all the hallmarks of a future classic. It is likely to grow in reputation and remain in print for quite some time to come.