Author: Tomie dePaola
Illustrator: Tomie dePaola
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Audience: Three years and up
Summary: This is a one hundred word call to praise. The words are inspired by the Canticle of the Three Young Men in the Book of Daniel (apocryphal) called the Benedicite, and by Psalm 148, known in monastic circles as the Laudate. The author’s introductory note says that the illustrations echo the folk art of the Otomi people from around the mountain villages in Puebla, Mexico. Print and pictures both are a joyous experience of praise. It would be possible to simply read Psalm 148 and match the phrases with the pictures. As early as a child becomes aware of books and the reading experience this can be shared by an adult and child. By three or four a child can examine it independently with pleasure.
Literary elements at work in the story: Words are not the most important aspect of this book. The illustrations are not realistic but they convey the wonder and beauty of the world God has created.
How does the perspective on gender/race/culture/economics/ability make a difference to the story? This book is about as inclusive as it is possible to be. Instead of representing inclusion by drawing Africans, Asians, Indians, Caucasians, dePaola’s people are green, orange, brown, all ages, and dressed in no identifiable style.
Theological Conversation Partners: Praise and thanksgiving are our primary response to God’s love.
It is the initial lesson in nurturing young Christians – to see God gifts, rejoice and give thanks. In sharing this book with a child, we offer content, vocabulary, and practice. The pictures, not literal representations, will elicit discussion of what God has made. Colors, objects, and print can be recognized as expressions of joy. The refrain from Genesis 1-“and God saw that it was good”-is a refrain that goes with each page.
Faith Talk Questions:
- What do you see on this page that God has made and given us to enjoy.?
- What animals (trees, flowers, etc.) have you seen. Which do you like best?
- Praise, bless, sing praise-these words tell us how to express love and thanks.
- Can you think of a time that you have praised God? At home? At church?
- How old do you have to be to praise God?
- Let’s give thanks for some of the gifts God has made now.
This review was written by regular contributor Virginia Thomas.