From eating cereal in a breakfast nook to watching the moon rise in the evening sky, everyday rituals can help a child feel secure in an ever-changing world. Award-winning children’s book author M.H. Clark and illustrator Beya Rebaï have created a beautiful ode to routines in Over and Over. Following a girl and her father as they greet new days and seasons, the book’s gentle rhymes and colorful artwork celebrate the simple pleasures children can count on again and again. As a bedtime read, it’s an invitation to experience the calming magic in togetherness and remind a child they are deeply loved.
Learn more from author M.H. Clark and illustrator Beya Rebaï about their inspiration and creative process for Over and Over below:
The last two years have certainly brought their fair share of uncertainty to all of us. What do you want to offer children through this book?
Clark: In Over and Over, I was really interested in capturing the beauty, comfort, and familiarity in sameness, especially as children experience it. There's something so cozy about knowing what to expect in the days, the seasons, and the years—something deeply reassuring in the way we wake up every morning, eat breakfast every morning, participate in the gentle rituals of each day, and can count on the way that winter will come after fall, and fall will come after summer There's a kind of magic in the familiar, especially when the familiar things are as special and as lovely as finding animals in the clouds, baking cakes, and waiting for fruit to ripen. This is what I wanted to capture—the miracle of the way certain things happen again and again.
What do you hope people will experience as they read these words?
Clark: I hope that both children and adults experience a comfort and a joy in these words and the way they highlight the beauty of the everyday. This book is a very relationship-based book, with a deep warmth and love expressed between the voice of the parent and the child. It's my hope that the gentle but strong affection of the words and the deep care and appreciation they express become a part of every room where this book is read aloud... and that children feel that care in the voice of whoever is reading these words.
Beya, your oil pastel illustrations bring such a vibrancy to the everyday rituals of a child’s life. What may readers notice as they look at the artwork?
Rebaï: Nature is where I’m the most inspired and you’ll see I included lots of flowers and plants in the book. Some animals and insects are hidden inside, and these are the little details I like because we may not see them at first, but when we look better, something unexpected appears!
What is magical about illustration is that everyone can interpret an image in their own way. I hope that people will see things that even I hadn’t thought about!
Do you have a favorite illustration?
Rebaï: My favorite spread is where dad, daughter, and dog are walking in the snow toward the sunset. I love the blank space; it’s like a breath in the middle of the book. I also really enjoyed drawing the cake. It reminded me of an old children’s recipe book I loved when I was a kid.
While this is a children’s book, Over and Over holds timely reminders and anchors many of us could use right now. What do you hope this book will inspire more of in the world?
Clark: I hope this book inspires an appreciation of the predictable beauty of the world—the things that aren't a surprise, but are instead comforts we know we can look forward to. And I hope this book inspires an appreciation of the beauty of togetherness, and the way some of the most special moments we have are the ordinary ones, shared with someone we love.
This classic children’s book is a beautiful bedtime read to soothe anxious feelings and strengthen the bond with a child. Over and Over makes a touching gift to honor a parent-to-be during a baby shower, celebrate a young child’s birthday, or give as a family gift. Find it here.