A beautiful collection that manages to be both near-universal and deeply personal.
Wilder Award winner Paterson offers an essay before each section: “Gather Around the Table,” “A Celebration of Life,” “The Spirit Within” and “Circle of Community.” In each, she illuminates a small moment: the scent of an orange; watching a cicada emerge from its shell over a steamy summer hour. The words that follow come from the King James Bible and Hildegard of Bingen, from speeches (“I Have a Dream,” by Martin Luther King Jr.) and from poetry (snatches from Wendell Berry and e.e. cummings), from non–Judeo-Christian traditions (the Navajo “house made of dawn”) to songs (Bill Staines’ delightful “All God’s Critters”) and spirituals (“All of God’s Children Got a Song”). All of them indeed give thanks and praise. Readers can give thanks and praise for the illustrations, too: Scherenschnitte, cut-paper illustrations of extraordinary power. In borders and full pages and spot images, Dalton once again wields her scissors in pursuit of magic. From deceptively simple (a grasshopper, a bird’s nest, a candle flame) to extraordinarily complex (a border of sunflowers, a plethora of vegetables), the pictures are as meditative as the words. The final page is “Blessed be” in the calligraphy of Anne Robin.
Suffused with and inspiring gratitude and joy. Amen. (Picture book/poetry. 7 & up)