Title: All of Me: A Book of Thanks
Author: Molly Bang
Illustrator: Molly Bang
Publisher: Blue Sky Press
Audience: Ages 3-5
Summary: A preschool boy exults in his body and his senses, saying “thank you” to his fine feet, grand hands, even his bottom that cushions his fall. A fluffy, yellow cat is the recipient of his attention as he feels and hugs. He’s delighted with his senses as he bites a cracker, kisses his father,looks at a book, smells popcorn and hears sounds outside. Turn the page and suddenly there is a dark night sky and the word “Silence.” He’s aware of his feelings, his family, and the world around him. At bed time he marvels that he is part of the universe and the universe is part of him. In the final two pages, Bang describes and illustates how she made this book and encourages readers to make a book also.
Literary elements at work in the story: This is a joyful picture book of vibrant colors and simple text. The pictures do more work than the words in capturing the wonder of the human body and the world around it. Awareness of environment, joy in life, appreciation of the body are attitudes to encourage in the growing child and this book expresses these beautifully. However, there are two problems here: it’s a rare preschooler who muses on his place in the universe and the boy has no one to whom he can express his thanks. A loving Creator, the source of these good gifts, is not a part of All of Me. (This is intentional on the author’s part.)
How does the perspective on gender/race/culture/economics/ability make a difference to the story? This is a bi-racial family, a two parent home with a pet. The mother’s wedding ring is clearly seen in two of the pictures. The house is comfortable, not ostentatious, and the parents and child demonstrate love for one another.
Theological Conversation Partners: It’s almost impossible to read All of Me without thinking of Psalm 139:14 or Psalm 100:3, yet this most engaging book is simply an appreciation of life and the world as realities, not gifts. Does a book that excludes God have a place in Christian nurture? Some will say no. This is probably a good place to say that there is really no such thing as a “Christian” book, there are only Christians who read books and bring their faith to the text and pictures. Recognizing gifts is the basis of thanksgiving and this book , in the hands of an adult with faith, leads to this kind of recognition. The adult will be especially aware of the emptiness of having no one to thank. Pasting “All Things Bright and Beautiful” or some similar words of praise on the inside cover could add a necessary dimension to the book. “Fearfully” in Psalm 139 will need some explanation but there is no substitute for this translation.
- How many good things can you do with your hands? (Cap, wave, pick something up, etc.)
- Here are six things to touch. (Velvet, fur, sandpaper, flower, etc.) Keep your eyes closed and see if you can tell what they are. What do you like to feel?
- What can you do with your feet?
- How many things can you see in this room?
- What do you hear?
- Has anyone ever said to you, “Say thank you”? When do you say thank you?
- Let’s say thank you for some of the gifts from God we’re using and enjoying today.
Review prepared by guest blogger Virginia Thomas
All of Me by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.