A gorgeous visual paean to the natural world that reflects and echoes the prayer it accompanies.
Beloved author Paterson “reimagines” Francis of Assisi’s “Canticle of the Creatures” in crystalline language. “For this life and the life to come, we sing our praise to you, / O Lord, the Father and Mother of all creation.” The song starts with Brother Sun and Sister Moon, Brother Air and Sister Water, and leads on to thanksgiving for Sister Earth and Brother Fire, through praise for those who can forgive, comfort for those who suffer, courage for those who make peace. There is praise for Sister Death, acknowledging fear but recognizing her as part of love “for this life and the life to come.” Dalton’s extraordinary images, made with papercuts and watercolor lain on a black background, have the same stately rhythm, repetition and beauty as the text. Borders of fruit branches, flowers and leaves set off the text and the center frame, which is in two or three lines of images like a medieval panel painting or a contemporary sequential tale. A farmer plows and reaps, children play and work. Exquisitely rendered butterflies and oxen, sunflowers and apples, wheat and bread make the world vivid, present and lovely.
Grace and joy for all ages and almost any faith. (author’s, editor’s and illustrator’s notes, “Canticle” translated by Bill Barrett) (Picture book/religion. 5-10)