Landmann illustrates the decalogue of Angelo Roncalli, probably best known as Pope John XXIII and now St. John—a simple set of 10 precepts to live by.
Each day, he would be polite, he would not criticize, he would spend 10 minutes in silence listening to God. “Just for today, I will make a plan: perhaps I will not follow it perfectly, but still I will make it. And I will guard against two evils: haste and indecision.” He concludes knowing that it is hard to think of doing those things for a lifetime, but for 12 hours? Surely one can do that. The original Italian is not quite so stiff, although it is as formal; the advice in any language is strong but gentle, as the man himself was. Landmann has made a near-magical series of images illustrating this prayer: of a boy, of a city of turrets and domes, of a classroom in which each child has an animal companion like a guardian angel (or one of Philip Pullman’s daemons), of rooftops and forest and ocean. Her surreal approach is ideal for the ethereal subject. The palette is blue and gold, and the line is delicate. The credo is a bit too wordy for very young children, but they might be taken by the images, and the repetition of “just for today” has a comforting, rhythmic weight.
There’s plenty of wisdom here for older children and adults of many faiths. (Picture book. 6-10)