The catchy, feel-good folk song comes to life like never before in this spirited production.
Framing the initial spread with rich, red curtains, Nelson creates a stage production into which he ultimately draws all of the animals that appear in the lyrics, including, among others, several types of birds, an enormous, shiny hippo and a pony sporting daisies and braids in her mane. The singing and dancing animals are a delightful combination of hyper-realism and ridiculousness that often spills right off the pages. One of the final spreads is a fold-out in which the outer leaves serve as stage curtains that open to reveal a four-panel spread featuring the entire cast of characters in an exuberant chorus line. It is the next spread that truly captures the spirit of the song, however, as the visual perspective dramatically swings around, allowing readers to look from the stage out into the audience of assorted animals who, it turns out, are putting on a show of their own.
“All God’s critters got a place in the choir,” indeed. (Picture Book. 4-8)