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MY FATHER'S HANDS by Joanne Ryder


by Joanne Ryder & illustrated by Mark Graham

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-688-09189-X
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

 A poet who has frequently celebrated nature in her picture books evokes a child's relationship with her father and the gentle example he sets her by his own relationship with the natural world. The lyrical narrative focuses on the father's hands as he works in the garden: As they lift, the hands are strong; as they dig, they are covered with earth, without apology; always, they are capable. When they reach for something interesting--a ``pink circle of worm,'' a snail, a mantis--``I bend closer,/knowing that/ nothing within/my father's hands/will harm me.'' Wide-eyed, a little hesitant in Graham's lush, romantic paintings, the little girl takes the mantis in her hands to gaze in wonder at a being ``so bold, so strange'' and wonders what it thinks of her; when it scampers across her shoulder before they let it go free, she grins with delight. Just so it should be, with trust passed from generation to generation. Lovely. (Picture book. 4-8)