Jamie Lee Curtis's Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born
Illustrations by Laura Cornell
Children's book review by Steve Barancik
Wow. Sometimes a book just gets everything right.
I'm not the only reviewer on this site who enjoys Curtis and Cornell's efforts. This is a collaboration that works.
In Tell Me About the Night I Was Born, Curtis captures beautifully a child's drive to have her comforting words repeated, well, repeatedly! Every page of this book, written from an adopted child's point of view, begins with "Tell me again..."
Tell me again how you got on an airplane with my baby bag and flew to get me and how there was no movie, only peanuts.
After all, we don't tell our children, "I love you," only once, then assume that they know it without us saying it for the next 50 years. We share this important factoid repeatedly so that the knowledge never fades.
Well, children of a certain age want to hear their own story again and again (and the child in this story certainly knows how to ask!).
Because a child's life story, told with love and affection, confirms for the child his/her uniqueness and importance. To be the star of a story worth telling (again and again) is to confirm one's own centrality in the universe...of one's family.
And who needs this more than a child who might have reason to feel separate?
The great charm of Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born is that the young girl requesting her story actually knows it so well that she manages to tell it herself in its entirety just by asking for it in such detail!
Tell me again about the first time you held me in your arms...and how you cried happy tears.
(Frankly, I cried a few happy tears reading this book!)
Cornell treats us to a family dog just as interested in hearing his own adoption story, and any time she places the action in a crowd you'll want to see what the other people are doing. (Check out the hospital hallway scene with a Picasso, an O'Keefe, a man turning the same color as the liquid in his I.V. bag, and dazed parents of septuplets enduring a media barrage.)
Of course, the heart of Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born still resides in a touching and fanciful entering-into-the-world story that could easily serve as inspiration for teasing out the details of the real-life story you should be telling your own child, whether adopted or not.
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