GRANDAD'S PRAYERS OF THE EARTH by Douglas Wood

GRANDAD'S PRAYERS OF THE EARTH

Age Range: 6 - 10
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Wood (Making the World, 1998, etc.) tackles the enormity of death and the meaning of prayer in a way that is both accessible and meaningful. A boy walks with his grandfather, who is his best friend. As they stroll through woods and past streams, the boy asks those questions that grandparents are on earth to answer—“Why?” “What if?”—and about prayers. Lucidly, the grandfather explains that trees “pray” as they reach for the sky, that waters pray, that the wind prays and sings at the same time. When people pray, “a prayer is often its own answer.” The grandfather dies, and the narrator finds it impossible to pray anymore; one day, when he is older, he discovers the woods again, and finds his own prayers. The deeply naturalistic watercolors portray the wild exquisitely, and the boy and grandfather are timelessly rendered in jeans, corduroys, and plaids. Some of the spreads are stunning: a close-up of the boy in the grass with a tiny clover in his fist, and only Grandad’s knees visible; or a ground-level view, looking up, past the upturned faces of the pair to the sun shining through the trees above. This is a depiction of the spiritual that is without reference to a particular faith or tradition, and that doesn’t lapse into greeting-card platitudes; Wood conveys a sense of something larger in the world, and gives voice to the human longing to understand. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-7636-0660-X
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Candlewick
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1999




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