Saturday, April 30, 2011

Morning Has Broken

Occasionally I come across a picture book so beautifully written and illustrated that I view it as a piece of art. Morning Has Broken is one such book. While the large, bold text (written by Eleanor Farjeon) dances across the pages, the illustrations (done by Tim Ladwig)vividly paint a story of a boy racing to meet his grandfather at the park. It starts with each rising from their respective homes, greeting the morning, and setting out for their rendezvous. On route, both the boy and his grandfather stop to celebrate tiny aspects of God’s glorious creation—flowers, dew, rain. Thus, the book carries an unusual blend of eagerness (to meet) and serenity (in soaking up nature). Likewise, the reader experiences the characters’ onward tugging and slow, savory pauses. Additionally, warm morning light tickles the images, making the book burst with life, praise, and joy.

Adult readers may be familiar with the inspiring poem/hymn, written by Eleanor Farjeon, because pop singer Cat Stevens recorded it years ago. If not, a note about the author at the beginning of the book tells about Farjeon’s background. Plus, the last page of the book has a musical score for the hymn version of the song, taken from “Revised Church Hymnary 1927.”

What I Like: Everything. Ladwig's illustrations are superb. Children may also enjoy spotting the blackbird on all the pages.

What I Dislike: Not a dislike, but parents may have to help younger children interpret the text as it relates to the pictures. (The pictures tell their own story without the need for words.) Also, I would have liked the publisher to include more information about the basis for the poem. Farjeon used Psalm 118:24.

Overall Rating: Excellent

Age Appeal: The publisher lists 9-12, but I think younger kids would love it even more. So I'm going with 4-8 AND 9-12.

Publisher Info: Eerdmans Books For Young Readers, 1996; ISBN:978-0802851321; Paperback, 32 pgs., $8.99.

Buy it Now at for $7.19
OR Buy it at for $8.99.

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