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Books: ‘If There Never Was A You’

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A sweet bunny book for young kids — or bunnies

By Christina Stock

Vision Editor

How do you tell your young child that he or she is special and important? By taking time to talk, by holding one’s child close and by reading out of board books. Not only is this a bonding moment, but educational and some of the most cherished memories a child will ever have.

One of these board books that includes a sweet and creative story is “If There Never Was A You” by American author Amanda Rowe and Russian graphic artist Olga Skomorokhova. Both share in their book a bunny mother’s message of how precious her little bunny child is. Precious because of all the little things it does that are special. The warm story is full of meaning and may be especially important for a child who just got a little baby brother or sister, or has many siblings. Missing in the book are any mentions of a dad or siblings, it is “me-time” between one bunny and its mom.

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This board book is a rare beauty because of the original art created by Skomorokhova, which leans heavily on the colorful Russian folk art of the early 20th century. The elements of nature, of plants that surround the bunny mother and child are intricate and detailed.

Skomorokhova was born and grew up in Russia. She specializes in magazine and book illustrations and other commissioned and personal projects. As a child, she found immense pleasure in painting and drawing. This activity soon transformed into an interest in graphic design while illustration was just a passionate hobby. Five years ago, she became a full-time freelance illustrator based in Tallinn, Estonia’s capital on the Baltic Sea. Skomorokhova said that she is inspired by travel and people; thus one can see a lot of botanical, architectural and animal topics in her art.

Author Rowe lives in New Jersey with her two children, who are teenagers today. She is a freelance writer, an academic administrator, an amateur chef, a travel enthusiast — and as she says unapologetically — a book hoarder. Rowe said she loves anything with peanut butter as an ingredient and is determined to make the world a better place. “If There Never Was A You” clearly draws on her memories with her children when they were little. The simple truth of her words accompanying each illustration send the message of a mother’s love.

“If There Never Was A You” is available as a board book or as an e-book. For more information, visit amandarowewrites.com.