Let the Whole Earth Sing Praise

Tomie dePaola, Putnam, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-399-25478-9
In this small-format book, dePaola masterfully pairs simple words and resonant images. Rendered in acrylics and inspired by the folk art of the Otomi people from Puebla, Mexico, the pictures offer primitive depictions of natural phenomena. Celestial objects, fire and heat, mountains and rivers, flora and fauna, and finally humans, all featured in turn, bring to mind the Creation story. DePaola's art is even more elemental than in his The Song of Francis (2009), to which this book is a natural companion; his palette consists of tropical pinks, greens, blues, and purples, which pop against the muted, tea-stained backdrops. Based on two pieces of Old Testament scripture—the Canticle of the Three Young Men from the Book of Daniel and Psalm 148—dePaola's narrative bids specific creatures and forces of nature to give praise, before issuing a cumulative call-out: "Let everything in heaven and on earth bless and praise God." The very largeness of the loose, hand-lettered text, which appears in all caps, amplifies the message, while the joy that emanates from the cheerful spreads confirms its value. Ages 3–5. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/01/2010
Release date: 01/01/2011
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