Cecil Frances Alexander, , illus. by Anna Vojtech. . North-South, $15.95 (24pp) ISBN 978-0-7358-1892-7

Alexander's beloved 1848 ode to the natural wonders of God's creation receives a fresh treatment via Vojtech's (Over the Meadow ) expansive watercolor paintings in this handsome, square-format book. As the seasons change, two children and their dog hike over hill and dale, frolic in a meadow and build a snowman, all the while admiring the flora and fauna. Each spread is wall-to-wall color, introducing a verse couplet and a wide-angle panorama, usually featuring the kids in action. An equally detailed border around the compositions extends the text to a mouse family's point of view. From those two varying perspectives, bees buzz, flowers wave in the wind, apples ripen. Using a predominantly sunny palette, Vojtech offers a cast of slightly anthropomorphic creatures (smiling bears and mice) joined by more realistic renderings of birds, insects and plants. Intriguingly, not all spreads show simultaneous events. For example, the spread illustrating "The cold wind in the winter,/ The pleasant summer sun" features a pond; the left half shows children skating and playing in snow, while the right half depicts the kids embracing puppies, a mother duck and ducklings paddling in the pond and robins singing in a blossoming tree. On the following spread ("The ripe fruits in the garden/ He made them every one"), the left page returns to the same pond site in summer, the right page in fall, when the children harvest apples from the tree. This inviting portrait of the great outdoors is perfect for perusing—and may even prompt youngsters to commit Alexander's words to memory. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)