Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Let the Whole Earth Sing Praise

One of my favorite author/illustrators, Tomie dePaola, offers children a book of beauty and joy with Let the Whole Earth Sing Praise. The book begins with a note from the author, where he cites the Old Testament inspiration for the words and describes how the artwork “echoes folk art embroideries and native designs of the Otomi people” who live in Pueblo, Mexico.

The story structure is straightforward: Three to ten large, hand printed words joyously flow and swirl across each page and are accompanied by bright colors and simple plant and animal shapes that feel wild and free. The words dominate the pages, pushing the images into the background. Somehow, the whole book holds movement, like a Alexander Calder mobile.

What I Like: To me, the book feels like an inspiring Hallmark card or a Psalm or a framed piece of artwork. The message can’t be missed: “Let everything in Heaven and on earth bless and praise God.”

What I Dislike: Nothing. However, since the text is the main focus, I wonder if the illustrations hold enough interest to captivate younger children.

Overall Rating: Very good

Age Appeal: ages 4-8

Publisher Info: Putnam Juvenile, 2011; ISBN:978-0399254789; Hardcover, 32 PGS., $15.99

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Read CCBR reviews of other books by Tomie dePaola

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