What if children choose the families into which they are born? This children’s picture book, Annabelle: A Child on the Way, ponders that possibility. Annabelle is a girl-spirit who wishes to be reborn. She calls on her spiritual guide, who advises her to look for a family she might like. Annabelle observes many people and places and decides on a small town where she has noticed a four-year-old boy named Philippe. Annabelle secretly accompanies the family as they visit museums, playgrounds, and the zoo. She senses Philippe’s yearning for a sister, but his wish is not quite enough to make Annabelle’s dream a reality. Annabelle must find a way to win the busy family over to the idea of another child.
Award-winning author Beti Rozen has published over ten children’s books, four of which are collaborations with Peter Hays, an American playwright. Illustrator Eliardo Franca’s fanciful cloud-like illustrations successfully bridge the vivid world of Brazil, where the story is set, and the dreamlike world of Annabelle’s spirit. This story is a charming way to introduce children ages five and up to the possibility of a new brother or sister.